Kolkata: India’s first floating market in Kolkata at Patuli will open in the coming year, says the reports. The joint initiative is taken by the Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority (KMDA) and the Kolkata Municipal Corporation where a water body in the area was transformed into a unique market that will house over 200 shops. According to the councillor Arup Chakraborty, Rs 10 crore has been spent to develop the water body.

The 500 metres long and 60 metres wide ‘The Floating Market of Patuli’ will be opened to the public from January. The market will have no entry fees and will be inaugurated by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

The councilor, Arup Chakraborty said, “Our Urban Development and Municipal Affairs Minister Firhad Hakim recently visited Bangkok to attend a seminar. There he saw floating markets and decided to replicate such a market in Kolkata. In India, there is no floating market. The one you see at Kashmir’s Dal Lake is an unorganised market where individual sellers reach out to customers in houseboats. This will be the country’s first floating market and the third in Asia. The minister was looking for a place to set this up. When I came to know about his plan, I approached him and told him that there are water bodies in my ward which could be used to set up this market. He had sent KMDA officers to check the feasibility aspects of the water body. After getting a positive report, the KMDA along with the KMC took the initiative to set up the market.”

He further added, “The market will be divided into four clusters — vegetables, grocery, fish and meat. There will walkways on the water body, which will be used by people to reach these clusters and there will be boats on each side of these walkways which will sell goods. These boats will be the floating shops in the market.”

Reportedly, the shopkeepers who were removed from the Eastern Metropolitan Bypass area due to widening of road will be rehabilitated in the floating market. As Chakraborty said, “The Eastern Metropolitan Bypass was turned into a six-lane road recently. As a result, some shopkeepers from one side of the road were evicted. These shopkeepers will be rehabilitated in this floating market.” An initiative has also been taken by the KMC to safeguard the water body so that the environment did not pose any threat.

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