Mumbai - The two decades old Mahim fish market is in a decrepit condition today. Built in 1994 out of corporator Milind Vaidya's funds, the building was to house fisherfolk who could ply their produce in the spacious market meant to house around 80 stalls. Today, the building is falling apart while the fisherwomen, who have shifted to selling their fish from makeshift stalls on the pavement outside, are faring no better.
Ironically, the fisherwomen shifted to the pavements outside since the bazaar was considered to be away from the main thoroughfare. Built at a time when the local population was considerably lesser, the market wore a deserted look while fisherwomen occupied the pavements. Today, the population has swelled and so have local businesses who resent having the fisherwomen selling their produce on the streets. The fisherfolk, on their part, are reluctant to move back to the bazaar which could cave in any time, they claim. Local corporator Shraddha Patil says she has helped the fisherwomen by putting up sheds to protect them from the elements, but the fisherwomen say they expected better help from the local representatives.
Currently, the fisherwomen stand the risk of being evicted from the pavements they have illegally occupied for long. But till the bazaar that houses them is reconstructed, there is little they can do. Now that's called being caught between a rock and a hard place.