Ponnjekars go without fish on eve of Diwali

Story Summary: 

The fish vendors refuse to sell fish in the new market on Monday.

PANAJI: The tussle between fish wholesellers and vendors over the ‘marketplace’ forced Ponnjekars to go without fish on the eve of Diwali. And the tangle continues to linger on as the commissioner of Corporation of City of Panaji and the mayor could not hammer out any solution till late Monday afternoon.

The bone of contention is the ‘marketplace’ where wholesellers have conducted their business for the last 50 years. The wholesellers conduct their business on the approach road to the new market complex. The road is flanked by Dempo House and Old Goa Medical College and Hospital.

However, fish vendors who sit inside the new market selling fish object to highhandedness of the wholesellers or ramponnkars. The fish vendors alleged that these wholesellers sell fish to prospective customers when fish is being unloaded from vehicles early morning, and even after that. The vendors charged that this ‘malpractice’ of wholesellers eats into their profit as wholesellers sell fish at a reduced price to attract customers.

On Monday the fish wholesellers as well as vendors refused to sell fish, marched to the Corporation office and met with the mayor, Ms Vaidhayi Naik and the CCP commissioner, Mr Sanjit Rodrigues. Both rushed to the market to take stock of the situation.

Mr Rodrigues and Ms Naik held several meetings to broker peace between the wholesellers and vendors, but failed to come out with any amicable solution.

The CCP commissioner was willing to accommodate the wholesellers inside the market at four points, but they all spurned the offer outright.

In the end, the exasperated commissioner was forced to tell the wholesellers: "You find a place which does not create hurdles either to traffic or other business community …" To this the wholesellers retorted: "We will sit tomorrow also on the same spot and conduct business, and we will never move from there even if you kill us."

He said fish selling activities in the market area have increased creating the space problem. There are 18 wholesellers, while there are over 150 vendors who sit inside the market. The wholesellers, who come in the morning, have been given time to conduct their business upto 9.30 a.m. But they continue to occupy the place even after 9.30 a.m. Since the vendors sitting inside the market lose out early morning customers to wholesellers, we told the wholesellers to sit inside the market after 9.30 a.m., but they have refused to do so, Mr Rodriguese informed.

The CCP commissioner said as wholesellers sell fish on the road there are always traffic congestion and parking woes. There is total mess and complete indiscipline among the people and essence of marketplace has been lost.