KOCHI: The ancient buildings, cobbled streets, vendors hawking their wares and the sound of the backwater lapping the stone steps of the banks take a person who visits the Paravoor Market to the ‘good old days’. Though the good old days have long gone, the century-old market remains stuck in the past.
A heritage site
The market is one of the prominent sites in the list published by the Muziris Heritage Project in Ernakulam. Even as infrastructure facilities like toilets and drinking water taps have been an issue, the matters got worse after the 2018 flood. “The market is located close to Jewish Street and the Synagogue along the banks of the backwater,” said Siraj P S, a shop owner.He added: “In the past, traditional boats used to ferry goods to the market. Infrastructure facility was minimal then. Though years have gone by, the situation continues even today,” he said.
Though newer buildings have come up, most of the shops in the market function out of the ancient structures.
“The market had suffered a lot of damage during the 2018 flood. Around, `10 crore was the loss suffered by the shopkeepers here,” said Siraj, who owns a shop in the market. Forget receiving the promised compensation amount, the authorities haven’t taken even a small step to solve the persistent issues plaguing the market, he added.
Due to the absence of toilets, the workers at the market are forced to make use of available space to relieve themselves. “In the case of women, the issue becomes even more serious. They have to knock on the doors of the nearby residents to answer nature’s call,” said Siraj. According to him, even though the politicians and the civic authorities have visited the market many times, the issues remain unsolved.
However, D Raj Kumar, chairperson, Paravoor Municipality said, “The issue of toilets would have been resolved by now, if not for certain hurdles. The municipality had even begun works to construct a toilet complex, but a legal dispute put the entire project on hold. The dispute is over the land on which the toilet complex is being constructed. Once the issue is resolved, we will begin the construction.”
Conservation process under way
The Muziris Heritage Project has undertaken various renovation and conservation activities at Paravoor Market. “We have already completed Phase I of the project. Our slogan is ‘Green Muziris, Clean Muziris. So, the aim is to make the entire market very pleasing to the visitors’ eye,” said Sajana Vasanthraj, manager, Muziris Museum.
“Phase II of the project is under way. We have already cleared the waterfront area and constructed platforms around the trees. All the vendors from the waterfront area have been shifted to the ‘Matsya Vipanana Kendra’,” she said. According to her, 42 LED streetlights have been installed on the waterfront and tile laying works are going on.
“As for the construction of toilets, if the municipality provides us with the land, we will construct a toilet complex. Since it is our need too,” said Sajana.
According to her, maintenance work has been carried out on the buildings in the first phase. Meanwhile, V D Satheeshan, North Paravoor MLA, said, “Those at the market are the ones who are responsible for the delay in the construction of toilet. Nobody is ready to give the land. Even if we decide to make one on our land, those nearby object.
The Muziris Heritage Project has undertaken various renovation and conservation activities at