KOCHI: Though the city has 11 markets under the Corporation apart from a couple of private markets, most of them function under poor hygiene conditions. Though there was a public market upgradation programme at a cost of Rs 32.68 crore under JNNURM and another project for Ernakulam market renovation at Rs 15 crore, only the latter materialised, though not fully.
Ernakulam market stall owners’ association president C.J George said that though day to day waste movement from the market was regular, huge heaps of garbage piled up at the dumping ground emanating a severe stench.
“Traders and people coming to the market have to tolerate the stench and when the trash is removed once in a while, it becomes unbearable. Students in the school adjacent to the market are the worst hit as they cannot even eat food when it stinks. Leachate from the garbage pile is contaminating the entire area,” he said.
Though the present and previous City Corporation health authorities have promised to address the issue, nothing has happened. “The health committee chairperson and members have visited the site and promised to take immediate measures to resolve the issue,” the association president said. Meanwhile, the market constructed by the Greater Cochin Development Authority at Manapattiparambu some 15 years ago is getting a facelift and will open its doors soon.
Though the market was set up in 2001, it has been in a neglected condition and the shops operating at the old Kaloor market could not be shifted to new premises. Now, the more than 70 traders from the old market will be relocated to the new facility, though most of them are unwilling to move. The GCDA had earlier requested the Corporation not to renew the licence for the privately owned market.
When contacted, GCDA secretary R. Lalu told DC that modernization of Kaloor market was in the final stage and it could be commissioned in two months. “Electrification works are pending now. We have plans to rent out the second and third floors of the new market complex for commercial use,” he said.
Kaloor, Aluva markets share similar worries
It is one of the premier markets in the city, but everything leaves a lot to be desired. The stench emanating from the market especially on Sundays when it turns very busy is enough to put off any discernible individual, not to speak of the unhygienic environment that the market is keeping. But no civic or other authorities intervene to set things right.
With the rains lashing the city in ample measure now, the situation of the market has turned from bad to worse and during mornings, people squat on the pavements to display their articles including vegetables and fish in the most unhealthy conditions. Interestingly, the city dwellers including office-goers flock to the market to buy meat and other items kept in unhygienic environs.
The ubiquitous crow is having a whale of a time with many of them feasting on the waste thrown around including meat while rodents too make an appearance.
The market is without a roof in many parts, and the rainwater collected in several parts turn muddy as people pass through them. Contagious diseases are just a call away but what the health division of the corporation does is to chlorinate the pavement once in a week.
Ashraf and Muhammad Anas, two vendors, said it was a market owned by a private individual and these traders at the market are not willing to resettle at the GCDA market. “We are not getting enough business even when we are on the roadside, then what would be our fate if we go to an interior market,” he asks.
The Aluva market is no different. A modern fish market was constructed on the bank of Periyar at a cost of `1.5 crore. But today, the environmentalists say, the wastewater from this will flow into Periyar. Fearing legal dispute, the fish merchants have refused to relocate to this spot from the main market.
“The main market paints a pathetic picture and all sorts of filth is there, and it is because the people are fortunate that no contagious disease outbreak is happening during rains. Once in awhile, the waste is removed to Brahmapuram. The bid to construct a modern market too has not borne fruit due to technicalities,” said eminent environmentalist Prof S. Seetharaman, who is a native of Aluva.