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The Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority (KMDA) will be setting up the first floating market of the state in the southern fringes of the city to rehabilitate vendors who were displaced during widening of EM Bypass. The market will be set up on a water body near Patuli at a cost of nearly Rs nine crore. The market will have 114 boats with stalls selling vegetables, fruits, fish, meat, cereals, rice, edible oils and tea, according to a KMDA official, the market will be open for 24 hours. "There are many sellers who have been displaced because of the widening programme of the EM Bypass taken up at Patuli area near Garia. Our principal idea is to rehabilitate those who were having their business at the Baishnabghata-Patuli market on the EM Bypass to the floating market," a senior official of the KMDA told PTI today. The decision to shift the market on the EM Bypass was taken by the KMDA three years back so that the portion of the road could be widened. "We have such markets floating on the Dal Lake of Srinagar. Such markets are there in Bangkok and in Singapore," he said. Of the 114 boats, the KMDA has already bought 32 and the remaining boats will arrive by this month end, the official said. Each boat measuring over 10 ft in length will be specially designed and brightly painted, similar to those in Pataya's floating markets, with the capacity and space for two stalls. The KMDA, which is planning to have a foot overbridge across the EM Bypass to the market, has created manicured lawns and gardens on the banks of the water body where grocery shops, as well as Sulabh toilets, would be situated, he said. Over 200 hawkers would be rehabilitated in the market, the officer said. "Once, during my visit to Thailand I had seen such floating markets there.
Seeing them we had planned to come up with one in the city. This market will not be like those in Thailand and Indonesia," Urban Development and Municipal Affairs minister Firhad Hakim said. "This will like the ordinary markets we have. The only difference will be that the shops will be on floating boats. I am hopeful that this market will bring tourists to the city," he said. Such markets will come up in other places in the state as well, the minister added.