Boat-market, with 12,000 items, planned for Kerala district

March 4th, 2009 - 4:19 pm ICT by IANS  

Thiruvananthapuram, March 4 (IANS) Alappuzha, a Kerala district often referred to as the Venice of the East on account of the large number of water bodies located there and its picturesque setting, will soon get a “floating market” that will sell provisions to people living on the banks of the Vembanad lake.

Named as “Floating Triveni”, a 16-metre-long and six-metre-wide boat, carrying over 12,000 items, will start plying the Vembanad lake soon after the elections are over, said State Cooperation Minister G. Sudhakaran, who took the initiative to launch the floating market.

“The total cost of the project is Rs.75 lakh (Rs.7.5 million) and the boat will stop at around 100 spots under more than two dozen local (administrative) bodies in and around Alappuzha. The route for the boat would be announced soon and it would carry more than 12,000 items,” Sudhakaran told IANS here.

City-based hotel company Floatels India is building the boat, which will be managed by the state-run Kerala State Cooperative Consumers Federation Ltd (Consumerfed), the minister said.

Sudhakaran said the boat may also have a computer room, where children can play computer games when the boat docks.

According to officials, the floating shop would benefit over 200,000 people living on the banks of the lake.

Tomy Pulikattil, a 48-year-old Alappuzha resident, said Floating Triveni will be a “huge boon” for many people as close to 20 percent of residents in the area rely on small shops in their neighbourhoods for consumer goods.

“With Consumerfed now proposing to operate this floating shop, these people can get good quality supplies at cheaper rates,” said Pulikattil, who owns a dozen houseboats.

Floatels managing director M.R. Narayanan told IANS that the boat was almost ready and efforts were on to ensure an early launch.

“Unlike other boats made of either wood or steel, this boat is made of fibre steel. Twenty people at a time can come on the boat to purchase provisions,” said Narayanan.

The floating market is powered by an outboard engine, while the electricity it needs will come through a solar panel that would be placed on top of the boat.

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