The chaotic flower market at Mullickghat, on the eastern bank of the Hooghly, close to Burrabazar, will soon be replaced with a five-storeyed, modern shopping complex, having cold storage and export-packaging facilities dedicated to the floriculture trade.
The project has been taken up for the state’s only wholesale flower market with an eye to exploit the world floriculture trade of $6,800 million. Presently, India’s share in this global flower market is a meagre 0.3 per cent.
In the Rs 600-crore domestic market, West Bengal’s share is only six per cent, although in terms of flower production, West Bengal stands third in India, after Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
Four months after taking over the flower market from the Calcutta Port Trust, the state horticulture department has taken up a Rs 10-crore modernisation scheme to tap the vast export markets in Europe and West Asia. The state government-appointed Mullickghat Phool Bazar Parichalan Samity the nodal agency for implementing the scheme.
“The complex will have facilities for converting various types of flowers into value-added products like bouquets, decoration pieces and gift items, with the help of latest designs and ornamental plants,” said Samity chairman Sudhangshu Sil. The CMDA will construct the building for the market, he added.
While there are 180 permanent shops and 5,000 vendors in the market at present, the proposed complex will house 300 permanent shops. Processing and preservation units will be located on the upper floors, Sil said.
The Samity had appointed Inkwest Management Consultant to prepare an integrated infrastructure development report of the Mullickghat flower market, and the firm submitted its draft report last week.
Sil is leaving for Bangalore on Monday to study the flower-processing and preservation unit there. He plans to visit Holland in mid-November for a first-hand experience of international-standard floral trade.
According to the draft report, 42,000 farmers in the state produce 6,500 tonnes of flowers every year and the major flower-producing districts are Midnapore, Nadia, South 24-Parganas and parts of North 24-Parganas, Darjeeling, Howrah and Birbhum.