What started off as a plan to rehabilitate shopowners ended up as a gift for Kolkata in the shape of the first market inside a water body, with walkways for customers from which they can shop.At Patuli, a neighbourhood in south Kolkata, an entire lake has been transformed into a floating market about 24,000 sq m in area.”When an adjoining bypass was being widened, the local market had to be removed and its 228 shopowners rehabilitated. Our Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim, inspired by the floating market in Bangkok, wanted to set up a similar market here. I met him and gave him this proposal. A team of officials of the Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority (KMDA) came over for a feasibility study and okayed the place,” said Arup Chakraborty, councillor, Ward 110 of Kolkata Municipal Corporation.He said it would be the first such market in the country and the third in Asia. “There is one at Dal Lake in Srinagar but that is not an organised one. People just sell their wares at a venture. Over here, we will have ramps for customers. The merchandise will be sold in clusters. For example, one area would be for vegetable sellers, another for fruits, another for flowers and so on,” Chakraborty said.It was found out that 114 boats have been made in Hooghly district. Each boat would have two shops each. They would be stationary beside the ramps. The market timings are yet to be decided by the KMDA, but tentatively been fixed at 5 am-1 pm and 3 pm-8 pm.”We will avoid using plastic. We will instal a purifier for cleaning the water. The expenditure is expected to be about Rs 10 crore,” Chakraborty said, adding that the market was expected to be ready by the end of January 2018 and would be inaugurated by the Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee at her convenience.The market would include a cafe, a joggers’ track, seats, fountains and a light-and-sound show in the evening.

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Kolkata to get a floating market