Friday, August 22, 2014

Pettah Floating Market opens today

The new floating market constructed in Pettah under the Colombo city beautification project will be declared open today, Defence and Urban Development Ministry sources said.

The floating market, a first in Sri Lanka, is located at Bastian Street close to the long distance private bus stand.

Senior Consultant to the Urban Development Authority Weerasena Adikari told the media on Wednesday that the floating market was developed as a part of the greater Beira Lake Development Project.

"Around 92 stalls have been established within the floating market and 78 of them have been allocated to those who had maintained unauthorized stalls near the location previously," he added.

In addition, the market will consist stalls which sell local crafts, indigenous herbs, fruits and restaurants. A car park as well as walkways around the premises and its location in between the railway station and the bus stop ensures easy access.

Security is to be provided round the clock. According to Adikari the market in addition to locals will be a major attraction for visiting tourists.

"When construction began in March 2013, people hardly even knew there was a water body behind the shops. People did not even go close to this place as they thought it was a smelly garbage dump," he said. "Today, people are expressing their surprise about the remarkable transformation the area has undergone," he added.

In addition, Adikari said building such a market in a formerly unutilized area and also developing the area which was dotted with unauthorized structures will help lessen congestion in Pettah, which is considered the most crowded area in Colombo.

"Before building the market the authorities had also been engaged in a water purification effort in the area as the water body was highly polluted," he added.

The UDA experts along with the Sri Lanka Army Engineering Services units carried out the project.

The Chief Guest at the opening will be Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena. Defence and Urban Development Ministry Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and other officials too will be present. - By Rasika Somarathna