IN 2012, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) had promised around 50 wholesale fish traders of Ganesh Peth that they would be relocated to a new and renovated building within 18 months.
Over four years later, small retail traders — operating out of Pune district’s largest fish markets — are struggling to make ends meet. The reason: their stalls are located near a smelly nullah and customers refuse to buy anything from them.
As one enters the market, an overflowing nullah, torn tarpaulin (cloth) roofs, heaps of garbage and filth welcomes the consumers. Pointing out that they have written to the civic body several times, traders said their pleas have fallen on “deaf ears”.
They added: We have lost all hopes of returning to the new building till the next two years, at least. “We were informed that the renovated space would be handed over by May 30. But given the pace at which the renovation work has been underway, I don’t think that new building would be ready for atleast 1.5-2 years,” said Gopinath Pardeshi, president of Ganesh Peth Fish Market.
Doing business in such unhygienic conditions, the traders are also worried about catching illnesses. Business, the traders pointed out, has been hit hard. “Customers are just not willing to visit this shoddy market, especially during monsoon,” added a trader.
“Our businesses have fallen by over 50 per cent. We cannot even clear the stock daily. How do we make up for it?” said a trader who has been working at the market since the early 2000s. During the monsoon season, stocking ice, fish and other raw materials adds to their woes.
Being an open space and a low-lying area, water accumulates in the market area and damages the stock immediately, added another fish trader. “Even in the middle of the night, we have to rush to the market sometimes to check on the rising water levels. A delay of even few minutes means waterlogging in the stalls, which damages the stock entirely,” said Raju Sawant (name changed on request), another trader whose stall is adjacent to the nullah.
Buyers, echoed the complains, pointing out that it was getting increasingly difficult to make regular purchases from this market. The traders further questioned the civic body’s decision to construct a narrow entrance and passage at a market, which sees constant flow of trucks bringing fresh load of fish every day.