The government of India has finally admitted the role being played by the apex body of fisheries co-operatives FISHCOPFED so far as cleanliness of fish markets is concerned.
The entire team of Delhi headquartered FISHCOPFED was upbeat when the Secretary (AHD), Govt. of India bestowed the “Swachhata Pakhwada Award” on it on Thursday. “Our MD has received appreciation letter from the Secretary”, claimed a release from FISHCOFED.
The letter notes “The federation had done commendable work during the Swachhata Pakhwada week by taking up a cleanliness drive with awareness training at seven fish markets.”
Talking to Indian Cooperative its MD B K Mishra said that Fishcopfed is the only cooperative federation from the sector to have received the award.
Readers would recall a story carried in these columns about the ambitious plan of Fishcopfed to clean fish market across states. Titled “Fishcopfed: MD has plans to dispel stink out of fish markets” the story quotes MD saying “You go to any fish market in Europe; you would not find any smell; why cannot we organize our fish markets on similar lines”.
Fishcopfed’s campaign has already cleaned up seven big fish markets in the Delhi zone of NCR including the Ghazipur mandi.
But to continue beyond Delhi and to expand it to all India level, it needs support. Mishra talks of HACCP which is a standardized procedure of handling agricultural produce.
There is an urgent need to have proper drainage, proper icing, slope on which fish is kept , proper cutting instruments, waste treatment( fish scales can be used as animal feed, he informs), cleaning the shop and the immediate environment two times a day. There must also be toilet facilities around, he added.
Mishra says there are at least 20 organized fish markets on average in each state and this way the total count for the country becomes 720. If you add up the unorganized fish markets the number could be anything between 1000 to 2000 in a state; there is need to do a survey, he adds.
About Delhi, Mishra says MCD charges 20 thousand per month but there is no sanitation drive and there are no toilets to be found. Giving the example of Ghazipur he says there are 250 shops and if I charge mere Rs 100 from each of them, the idea of a clean fish market could materialize.
Fishcopfed is ready to train staff for this purpose who would clean markets two times a day and ensure a stink-free atmosphere. If one pays Rs 500 or 1000 to RWAs why cannot he pay Rs 100 for his shop, he argues forcefully.