With just five days to go for the new fishing season to commence on August 1, fishing stakeholders appear a worried lot over the state of affairs at Goa’s lone wholesale fish market in Margao, but for a different reason.
For, spread across an area admeasuring 10,000 square metres, the space presently used for the fish trade inside the wholesale fish market is now reduced to half.
Reason? The Goa State Infrastructure Development Corporation (GSIDC) has taken into its possession almost over half the portion of the market land to build a modern wholesale fish market, with provision for cold storage and other amenities.
Resultantly, the fishing stakeholders, including the fish traders have been facing a paucity of land inside the market for vehicular parking, with fish vehicles spilling over on the wholesale fish market road.
Inquiries by The Goan revealed that the wholesale fish market, presently operating on less than 5,000 square metres of land, is playing host to around 50-80 fish transporting vehicles during the off-season. The ground reality suggests that the market is plunged into chaos and traffic blues on the available space.
With the new fishing season set to start on August 1, vehicles transporting fish into the wholesale fish market are set to increase manifold.
Besides fish-laden vehicles coming from across the border, bringing fish from the neighbouring states of Maharashtra and Karnataka and as far away from Kerala, hundreds of pickups from the state jetties are set to hit the wholesale fish market when the season starts next month.
President of Margao Wholesale Fish Market Association Maulana Ibrahim has feared for the worst at the wholesale fish market when the fishing season starts on August 1.
“As it is, the wholesale fish market is in a sorry state. The market is stinking. The area where the wholesale fish trade is taking place is not fit for the fish business. The fish traders are conducting the business in the muck,” Ibrahim said.
He added: “If the present status of the market cannot accommodate the fish-laden vehicles during the off-season, just imagine the situation when the season starts on August 1. The PDA has to come out with a solution before the market and the road is choked with vehicles.”
Former president of Cutbona Boat Owners Union Savio D’Silva pointed out that SGPDA will have to come out with a solution before the new fishing season begins on August 1.
"Boat owners bringing fish from the jetties, including the Cutbona and Vasco, should get the space inside the wholesale fish market when they come with their fish catch,” he said.
Commenting on the sopo controversies erupting at the wholesale fish market, D’Silva pointed out that South Goa Planning and Development Authority (SGPDA) official Paul Gomes, who is looking after the wholesale fish market, conceded that hard days lie in store for the fishing activity at the market after the commencement of the new fishing season.
“The SGPDA is now operating the wholesale fish market from less than half the market space. We had to struggle to accommodate the fish trucks during the lean season," he said.