West bengal’s first floating market in Kolkata was unveiled by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday through a remote control during a programme at Netaji Indoor Stadium here.
The lake at Patuli in South Kolkata that has been transformed into the floating market similar to the one in Thailand is 400 metres long and 60 metres wide. The market has shopkeepers on boats selling vegetables, fruits, flowers, fish and meat. After the launch, state Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim visited the market and bought bananas from one of the shopkeepers.
“Buyers will have a unique experience. They can stand along the walkways and shop. The boats will have gates, which will allow buyers to make an entry and exit. The market will be open from 6 am to 9 pm,” said an official.
The idea behind launching the floating market was basically to rehabilitate shop owners of Baishnabghata-Patuli market, an adjoining area on EM Bypass, which was being widened from four lane to six lanes. Due to the expansion, the government had to remove 228 shopkeepers from the market.
As per sources, about Rs 6 crore has been spent to set up the market and make customized boats, while Rs 4 crore has been spent to build an underground sewer network for the adjoining area. Two water bodies were merged to set up the market. For buyers and shopkeepers to reach the boats, wooden walkways supported by wooden beams have been constructed, they added.