KOCHI: ‘To buy fish without having to swat flies.’ No one would perhaps have returned from a fish market sans similar thoughts. While upmarket malls and stores may have turned more hygienic, the roadside vendor still settles for the tarpaulin sheet teeming with flies.Such sights could well be a thing of the past should a mobile kiosk developed by the Engineering Division of the Central Institute of Fisheries Technology catch on. Part of the kiosk - specifically aimed at improving roadside fish vending - are digital price indicator, glass-covered display unit, descaling drum, storage facility and waste collection unit.
The CIFT engineers are optimistic of enabling vendors deliver the customer with quality products in clean surroundings.“Fish is a food item often sold in unhygienic conditions,” Manoj Samuel, head of the CIFT Engineering Division, told Express.“Fish is also exposed to the dust, smoke from vehicles and all other possible contamination through air. Besides, the dirty premises where the fish is displayed, there are vendors who do not hesitate to spray pesticides to keep flies away.”
The glass covered display unit in a standard kiosk - with a minimum of three trays - protect the fish from flies.“The temperature in the glass-covered trays is maintained at 0-5 Celsius. Hence, no ice is required to keep the fish fresh. Waste from the descaling and fish cutting units will be stored in a tank which can be disposed of by the vendor later. Therefore, the premises where the kiosk is at halt will remain clean with no waste,” said Manoj, who also had G Gopakumar and V K Siddique working on the model.CIFT is holding discussions with Matsyafed to distribute the kiosks among fish vendors.
‘’The kiosks can be made available to vendors with subsidy if it is distributed via any of the government agencies in the fisheries sector,” he said.
The kiosk could be integrated to a goods autorickshaw so that the vendor can move from one place to another. ‘’The cost to fabricate a wheeled kiosk will come to Rs 25,000-30,000. The number of display trays can be customised as per the requirement of the vendor. It can be used at a shop or as a mobile unit. The version for a good autorickshaw is designed in such a way that it can be unmounted and loaded using trolleys,” he said.To ensure seamless power supply for freezer and temperature-controlled display unit, a solar power tapping facility is also integrated in the kiosk.