KOCHI: We are being forced to live and work in these pitiable conditions, even after all these years of complaining. The corporation officials don’t care how most of us contract various diseases including epidemics due to unhygienic conditions in the market,” said Micheal J, a merchant.
Despite making promises repeatedly, the development of the Thevara market has remained a pipe dream for over a decade now. What was once the hub of Kochi’s daily trade activities, the market is now full of pits and holes and is ruled by anti-social elements.
Though Matsyafed set up a temporary building behind the existing market in 2015, the merchants weren’t ready to relocate. “The corporation had set up temporary sheds. But a majority of the merchants felt it didn’t suit them. They obtained a stay from the High Court in 2018 and haven’t paid their rent or renewed their licence ever since,” said Bency Benny, councillor of Konthuruthy division.
The market falls under its jurisdiction. Due to poor maintenance, many workers were injured while working in the market too. “Vendors slip and fall on the unkept floor of the Matsyafed market. Despite it being a property of the Kochi corporation, the new market hasn’t fetched the civic body any revenue yet. Now, it has allocated Rs 25 lakh to renovate the existing facilities and nearby roads,” said Bency, who runs an outlet in the market.
There is increased demand for a discussion of all stakeholders before mooting a plan. “We need to fix the rent and licence issues, to begin with. Besides, we need to deepen the drainage and set up a systematic treatment plant on the premises to stop the pollution of the nearby canal. Merchants are willing to take the discussions forward and ensure the construction of a new scientific Thevara market,” said the councillor
With its buildings facing structural issues, merchants call for a total revamp of the facility, including a scientific waste management system
Janakeeya samiti protest
Janakeeya Samiti took out a protest march on Sunday demanding the renovation of the poorly maintained Thevara market. “The merchants are living in fear of their lives, under ruined beams and pillars. There is no room for the scientific treatment of waste. The corporation should find a lasting solution to the issue,” said Kerala Congress (M) district president Babu Joseph.