The Telegraph
Tuesday , February 18 , 2014
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Fresh fish on wheels for capital today

- 70 vendors get icebox-equipped bicycles and uniforms to ferry prize catch

Love fish, but hate the foul market ambience? Heave a sigh of relief. Fresh fish will arrive on your doorstep from Tuesday.

The fisheries department has kept a year-old promise and, finally, armed Ranchi’s fish vendors with pedal power for door-to-door sale. While the state’s multi-crore, upscale fish mart proposed in Dhurwa is yet to see the light of day, government officials maintained that this subsidised cycle scheme would be a boon for both vendors and buyers till an organised market took shape.

Around 200 vendors had applied for the scheme. A special committee selected 90 in the first phase. Of these sanctioned beneficiaries, 70 were given subsidised bicycles at a low-key function organised at the fisheries directorate in Doranda on Monday. Zilla parishad chairman Sundari Tirkey did the honours.

District fisheries officer Manoj Kumar Thakur said the estimated cost of each cycle was Rs 7,000. Under the scheme, BPL vendors had to bear 25 per cent of the cost and their APL counterparts 50 per cent. Every cycle is mounted with an insulated icebox with a capacity of 25kg each.

“Of the 90 selected, 70 vendors made their contributions and received the special cycles. The others will get the two-wheelers as soon as they can pitch in their bit,” Thakur said, adding that once these fish carriers rolled into various neighbourhoods of Ranchi and its outskirts, more vendors would come forward.

Besides cycles, every bona fide vendor has been given a pair of uniforms. “The Rs 1,000 dress kit includes red check shirts with yellow collar, grey trousers, blue caps and wrist bands,” the district fisheries officer said.

Two years ago, the department had launched a fish-on-cart scheme and vendors were given tricycles equipped with freezers for door-to-door marketing. The idea was not economically viable.

“The special tricycles roughly incurred a cost of Rs 25,000-30,000. Small vendors could not afford them even at subsidised rates. Cycles are both pocket- and environment-friendly. Fingers crossed for success of this new scheme,” Thakur said.

On areas of marketing, he said they had left the decision to vendors. “Our objective was to do away with roadside markets, which eat into vehicle space and trigger frequent snarls. Vendors will now pedal through localities and ferry fish. Where and when is up to them,” he added.

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