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Floating market set to open on Patuli lake

Stalls along the Bypass in Patuli that will be pulled down to widen the road. The shopkeepers will be rehabilitated in the floating marketThe boats on the Patuli lake that will house shops once the floating market is unveiled. Pictures by Sanat Kr. Sinha

Patuli: The city is set to get its first floating market.

The market comprising boats doubling as shops is set to be unveiled on a Patuli water body on January 24. Most of the boats will house two shops that will sell vegetables, fruits, flowers, fish and meat.

Shop-owners of the Baishnabghata-Patuli market, who will lose their business following the widening of the Bypass, will be rehabilitated in the floating market.

Wooden walkways have been built for buyers to reach the boats. A walkway has also been built along the edge of the 2,000 square metre lake.

"Two adjoining water bodies were merged into one around a year ago to set up the market," said an engineer of the CMDA, the executing agency of the project.

A unique feature of the project is the installation of two aerators in the water body. Aerators increase the dissolved oxygen level in water, which in turn helps aquatic animals and aerobic bacteria to survive.

Stalls along the Bypass in Patuli that will be pulled down to widen the road. The shopkeepers  will be rehabilitated in the floating market

Metro took a walk around the lake.

How big is it

The market will have 280 shops housed on 114 boats. Wooden walkways supported by wooden beams have been constructed for shoppers and shopkeepers to approach the boats.

"A shopper will stand on the walkway and collect items from the boats. Each boat will have a gate in front for the sellers to go in and come out," a contractor involved in the project said.

Timing and cost

Sources said the market will remain open from 6am to 9pm with a recess in the afternoon. "The hours have to be like any other market," the contractor said.

"Around Rs 6 crore has been spent on setting up the market. The cost includes the price of the boats and the lights. Another Rs 4 crore has been spent to build an underground sewer network for the adjoining areas," an engineer of the CMDA said.

Rainwater from adjacent streets and sewage from houses and apartment blocks in the area used to drain into the two adjoining water bodies.

"We have built an underground sewer network so that sewage and accumulated rainwater do not flow into the lake," the engineer said.

Inspiration

Local councillor Arup Chakraborty, of the Trinamul, said urban development minister Firhad Hakim gave him the idea of setting up a floating market after he had seen one in Bangkok in 2014.

"Around the same time, talks were on to widen the Bypass. So, we decided to set up the market to rehabilitate the shoppers who would be eventually displaced," said Chakraborty.

Aerators

A CMDA engineer said two aerators, devices that collect oxygen from air and mix it with water, will be installed. "We want aquatic life to survive and thrive. The aerators will ensure that," he said.

"Two fountains will be installed in the water body. The fountains will also play the role of aerators."

Challenge

Maintaining the water clean and preventing customers and sellers from throwing waste into the water may prove to be an uphill task, an official said.

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