Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Municipality yet to keep promise of constructing building at Gingee Salai market

With no buildings, lights or basic amenities, 100 vendors at one of the popular fish-cum-vegetable markets in the boulevard have been facing hardships for several years now. Lack of attention from the local body and unhygienic surroundings have made the situation worse, the vendors alleged.

Home to around 150 shops, majority of them selling seafood, the market on Gingee Salai has been in need of attention for years. Rain or shine, the vendors carry on their business under thatched roofs erected by themselves.

“Some of us have been selling fish here for nearly 30 years. But the market does not even have basic infrastructure. Some of us have put up thatched roofs for our shops. During rain, we do our business with the help of umbrellas, as it is a question of life. The Puducherry Municipality, which runs the market, has been promising to construct a building but nothing has come through till now,” a seafood vendor said.

The vendors, mostly women, come from nearby areas of Vaithikuppam and Kuruchikuppam. “The market did not have drinking water facility two years ago. Only after repeated petitions made did the local body provide water supply here,” another vendor said.

However, women faced difficulty owing to lack of toilets. “The market is open from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., and again from 4.30 p.m. to over 8 p.m. There are no lights here and we have to carry on the trade with the light from the nearby streetlights during evenings,” some vendors said.

Earlier, the vendors had been paying a tax of Rs. 3 to the municipality for utilising the market facility. They said that the local body had stopped cleaning the market leading to accumulation of garbage.

“Now, we are cleaning the market and clearing the garbage from the shops. Adding to our woes, the local body has started to station garbage lorries close to the market leading to unbearable stench,” a vendor said.

Besides, an old tree in the centre of the market has also been posing a threat to the vendors. “It’s rickety. A branch fell on an elderly vendor last month. We informed the municipality but no action has been taken. We have placed wooden planks on the tree trunk to prevent it from falling,” she added.

Meanwhile, the municipality had plans to construct a fish market here. At present, steps are being taken to construct a modern hygienic market through INTACH and the government has asked the agency to prepare estimates for the works, official sources said.


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