Under the historical Howrah Bridge on the banks of the Ganges, one can find one of the Asia’s largest flower markets. The Mullick Ghat flower market in Kolkata is a sight to behold, filled with myriad essences and vibrant colours of fresh flowers. The market generates crore of business every year. Every day, thousands of flower traders make a beeline for the market and it has emerged as a prominent wholesale flower market in West Bengal. It enjoys a prominent place as a national flower exporting hub as well.
BE spoke to Mullick Ghat Phool Bazar ParichalanSamity,the nominated body of Department of Food Processing Industries & Horticulture, Government of West Bengal, the only organisation to look after the administration of this market. Swapan Burman, Vice-Chairman, Mullick Ghat Phool Bazar ParichalanSamity, informed BE, “We are tryingto improve the infrastructure of this area for the ease ofdoing business. The state government is also eager to dothat. But due to their heavy liability to clear up port trust dues, the project is getting delayed.”
GoutamSamadder, Treasurer, Mullick Ghat Phool Bazar ParichalanSamity, told BE, “Here flower vendors set up their business in three shifts – the first one is from 5 am to 10 am, the second shift is from 10 am to 2 pm and the third shift isfrom 2 pm to 8 pm. The vendors choose their own shift according to their compatibility.”
Vikash Singh, a staff of the same organisation, told BE, “There are 244 fixed stalls apart from the vendors who come, set up their business in available spaces in the market and leave at the end of the day.”
Flowers go from this market to every corner of India and similarly, flowers from different parts of India come to this market. Among the districts of West Bengal, PurbaMedinipur does maximum business from this market. This districtmostly produces roses. Ranaghat in Nadia district is famous for marigold flowers. Among other districts, the district of North 24 Parganas also supply significantly.
Samadder also said, “Our organisation looks at ensuring seamless supply of electricity, the cleanliness and drainage of the market, smooth traffic coordination for the flower suppliers and if necessary, health issues of the vendors.” He added, “This market place has tremendous potential. But it needs much better infrastructure. We also need green houses. A greenhouse for Dutch-roses is very much needed in our state. We do not have the required export facility as well. For example, the double tube-roses produced in West Bengal have good demand in Amsterdam but we cannot exploit that opportunity due to lack of export facilities.”
This market has a deep rooted history and deserves better infrastructure. The concerned authorities must look into this and ensure that this market emerges as an organised, well-structured business hub.