The development of the wholesale fish market at Pangode here is expected to pick up momentum with the release of Rs.2.25 crore as assistance from the National Fisheries Development Board, City Corporation functionaries said here on Saturday. The assistance is part of a Rs.22.43 crore package announced by Minister of State for Agriculture K.V. Thomas on Friday for the development of the fisheries sector in the State.
The Corporation has already secured Cabinet clearance for the transfer of 39 cents of land from the Revenue Department to start work on the Rs.8-crore project that has remained bogged down in litigation for the last five years. Work on an effluent treatment plant has already commenced.
The protracted litigation over the market began when four residents’ associations and two temple trusts at Pangode filed a petition seeking relocation of the market, citing environmental and health hazards caused by the unsanitary conditions.
After the market was shifted from Palayam to Pangode in 1986, residents of the locality have been protesting against the pollution and stench from rotten fish waste.
They complain that in the absence of treatment facilities, the waste is dumped into the Killi river without treatment.
Last year, the High Court directed the local body to shift the market, after repeated efforts to initiate a modernisation project got stalled due to the land issue. The Corporation later appealed to the Supreme Court, maintaining that it was impossible to relocate the market.
Although the Corporation, along with the Central Institute of Fisheries Technology, had formulated a Rs.2.25-crore market modernisation plan in 2001, the project did not take off for want of takers for the work.
Later, another plan also ran into trouble following a dispute with the State government in 2005. In 2008, the government approved a Rs.8-crore project to modernise the market and provide it with effluent treatment facilities.
The blueprint for the project includes the construction of auction lots for wholesalers, retail shops, ice-crusher units, delivery docks for fish trucks, effluent-treatment plant, refrigeration facility, sand shops, dormitories for workers, office rooms, conference hall and a food court. The complex would cover 81 cents.
According to the financial estimate prepared by the consultants, the Corporation would foot the operational and maintenance costs of the market with the revenue generated from entry and parking fees for vehicles, rental of auction lots, offices, shops, cold storage and ice-crusher units, usage fee for unloading bays and dormitories and charges for billboard display.
Chairman of the Corporation’s standing committee on Health G.R. Anil said the waste disposal system for the market would follow the guidelines issued by the Pollution Control Board. He said the complex was designed on the lines of the Jurong fish market in Singapore.