Monday, 30th October 2017

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Filthy market sparks concern of Assam

The fish and meat-sellers of the market said its condition was a matter of concern

By Satananda Bhattacharjee in Hailakandi
  • Published 19.03.20, 2:56 AM
  • Updated 19.03.20, 2:56 AM
  • 2 mins read
Herbertganj market in Hailakandi town. Picture by Satananda Bhattacharjee

The vendors of Herbertganj bazar here have decided to meet the deputy commissioner over the extremely unhygienic conditions of the 100-year-old market, especially in the time of coronavirus.

The fish and meat-sellers of the market said its condition was a matter of concern when the world was stressing the need for hygiene to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

A businessman, Sabul Hussain Mazumdar, alleged that the market was dirty, unhealthy and unhygienic. It lacks proper drainage, does not have a toilet and has become a dumping ground for garbage. He alleged that the civic organisation’s cleanliness work was a farce.

Fish vendor Amrit Das said the department of fisheries had constructed a concrete building, which was inaugurated on April 28, 2015, but was not in proper use.

Another fish vendor, Biplab Debnath, said after the day’s toil in such an unhealthy environment, they can’t eat properly after returning home as the stench of the market lingered. He said people take a bath or change clothes after visiting the market and women avoid the filthy market. “The Herbertganj fish and meat market is a living hell and may spread diseases if the strong action is not taken to keep it clean,” he said.

A tea stall owner in the market, Biplab Debnath, said they feel unsafe because of the mismanagement and unhygienic conditions.

Several buyers expressed unhappiness over vendors selling cut fish and meat despite the administration’s appeal against it.

When asked, a municipal ward commissioner, Arun Das, admitted that the market was dirty but said it was “not possible all the time to keep it clean because of shortage of manpower and infrastructure”. He also said that they wanted to build a toilet in the market but could not because of objection by some traders.

Deputy commissioner Keerthi Jalli said, “To maintain cleanliness and hygiene in the town area, the municipal and town committee of Hailakandi district will take extra steps and precaution to clear the garbage.”

Tripura markets: In Tripura, sales at meat and fish markets have been badly hit though the state and central governments have repeatedly publicised the World Health Organisation’s advisory that poultry and eggs, don’t carry or spread coronavirus and was safe for consumption.

“We are facing huge losses since the outbreak of coronavirus. People are hesitant to consume meat or egg. Usually, we sell poultry chicken for around Rs 130-180 a kilo but now it has gone down to Rs 50-70,” Kartik Das, 35, who has a meat shop at Maharajganj bazar here.

Tapan Banik, who sells ducks, said they are not able more than 10 in a day because of the rising temperature and the coronavirus threat. Many of the smaller markets have also suffered huge losses .

Animal rearing development department director Dilip Kumar Chakma said, “We are sensitising people through media advertisements, audio-visual appeals, public announcements and notifications. The Centre has clarified the virus spreads through human contact and not through chicken or eggs,” he said.

Additional reporting by Tanmoy Chakraborty in Agartala