Several fish vendors from the Vasco fish market on Monday morning marched to the Mormugao Municipal Council ( MMC) in protest over sale of fish by wholesalers and roadside vendors that had caused massive drop in business for the local fish market vendors.
The vendors who met the MMC Chairperson Leo Rodrigues also threatened to sell fish from the MMC building if the MMC did not stop the fish wholesalers and take action against roadside vendors by Thursday.
Speaking to the media, fish market leader and traditional fisherman Custodio D'Souza said that all the vendors had closed the market only to meet the MMC and will be forced to stop the market totally if their demands are not met.
"The fish wholesalers in Kharewado are functional full time while people are also selling fish on the roadsides. I don't understand why the MMC and the police don't use their powers to stop this illegal activity of sale of fish by wholesalers and roadside vendors. We will continue to keep coming here everyday till another month if required if this illegal sale of fish is not stopped . The MMC had assured that they will stop all sale of fish when they took the market from us and while they took actions and stopped everything for five days , the people have started selling fish illegally again," said D'Souza.
"The new fish market is being constructed and is getting ready but the MMC has still not done anything on their promise which has led to major losses to the fish vendors who sell fish in the MMC market legally. Why have a MMC fish market when anyone can sell fish anywhere and we will also start selling fish on the roadside or we feel that the MMC people are getting some monetary benefit to allow such illegal sale of fish," he added.
"We have requested several times that the MMC must use their staff to carry out raids and even seal the fish wholesalers stalls but nothing has been done as yet . The MMC had recently given us another assurance that they will close the fish wholesalers in three days but it has been a week now and we don't get any customers in the MMC fish market. We will be forced to start selling fish from the MMC building if the wholesalers and roadside vendors are not stopped, " said D'souza.
The MMC chairperson said that he had heard the grievances of the fish market vendors and assured to take immediate action as well.
"The new Vasco fish market is under construction and the fish vendors are presently operating from a shed in an area earlier under the Dev Damodar Trust, in the heart of the city. The vendors say that they don't get any customers because people go to wholesalers and this has been their long pending issue," Rodrigues said.
"We have done our best and closed the wholesalers and even sent them sealing notices but the vendors claim that the wholesalers are still operating. We will stop them again by sending our staff and issuing sealing notices again, while we will start acting on roadside vendors by using police force. We are all working for the benefit of the people and we are also building a new fish market for the fish vendors and their long pending issue will be resolved soon, " added Rodrigues.
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