Bhubaneswar, Aug. 18: Odisha State Fishermen Co-Operative Federation (Fishfed) will open 20 modern outlets, like those of Udyan Fresh selling vegetables in the city, to sell fish from local co-operatives and export houses.
In the first phase, the co-operative will open two such kiosks at a cost of Rs 40 lakh, which came as a grant from the state government. The remaining 18 kiosks will be developed in two subsequent phases.
After the initial two kiosks, 10 more will come up with a Rs 2-crore assistance from the National Fisheries Development Board, Hyderabad.
Fishfed managing director Umesh Mohanty said: “These shops will be erected with pre-fabricated materials so that if needed, the structures can be shifted from one location to another.”
Fishfed has given a list of 20 locations where the kiosks can be placed to the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation for consideration. The locations are Bhimatangi market, Sailashree Vihar, Mancheswar railway market, Rasulgarh, GGP Colony, Acharya Vihar, Samantarapur, Sum Hospital, Siripur, Unit-III, Dumduma Market, Patia, VSS Nagar, Palasuni, Pandra SBI Colony, Jayadev Vihar, Ganga Nagar, Khandagiri, Laxmisagar and Unit-IX.
The outlets will be fully air-conditioned with adequate deep-freezing equipment to sell export-quality fish, canned fish and dry fish products.
“We have six popular varieties of prawns (freshwater and marine) in the state which are exported to other metros and abroad after scientific processing at various places. However, the exporters are not willing to sell them here to local customers because of inadequate infrastructure. We hope they will now be interested to showcase their products through these outlets,’’ said Prashant Kumar Das, an inspector of co-operative societies under Fishfed.
Another senior Fishfed official said: “Fishes such as pomfret and hilsa, which are high in demand outside the state and are often sold at higher prices here, will be supplied by the cooperative societies to these outlets so that people can get them at affordable prices. This year, hilsa had reached Rs 1,200-a-kg only because of short supply.”
Jasaswini Mohapatra, a homemaker from Shatabdi Nagar Phase-II, said: “Udyan Fresh outlets have changed our shopping style for vegetables. Now there are about 15 such outlets. If the Fishfed comes up to sell fisheries products, people will have an opportunity to choose from a variety of products at these outlets.”
Corporation officials, on the other hand, said: “As all government land within the city limits belongs to the general administration department, we will forward the Fishfed application on a priority basis. The general administration department, in consultation with the public works department, will take the call on land availability as the possible road widening plans will be considered before allotment.”
Fishfed officials, however, said that they had initiated the process of approaching both the corporation and the general administration department at least six months ago, but there was no progress on the allotment issue.
Refuting the claims, a senior official in the land department of the corporation said: “We have received their application for the first time last week. If they had applied earlier along with the horticulture department, we could have given them land near all Udyan Fresh outlets.’’
At a time when the sanitation around the airport area because of unhygienic fish and mutton outlets has caused problems for the civic and aviation authorities with rising bird-hit cases, the Fishfed proposal has the potential to ensure a better environment for the sale of fisheries products.
After opening 20 outlets, each with 400 square feet sale area, Fishfed will also try to get six plots of 1,200 square feet area each to develop fish selling clusters which will give farmers, co-operatives and exporters a common platform to market their products.
These clusters have been planned at Chandrasekharpur, Pokhariput, CRP square, Rabi Talkies square, Saheed Nagar and Unit-IV daily market.