Sri Lanka launches Rs150mn floating market in Colombo
Aug 26, 2014 (LBO) - Shopkeepers in a newly built 150 million rupee floating market are hoping for better times after leaving behind wayside boutiques in a section of Sri Lanka's capital Colombo which is being modernized.
Ajantha Dhaundarasekara, 55, was among scores of small businessmen who ran one of about 100 shops in Bastian Road in Colombo's Pettah area,which were demolished as part of a city beautifying exercise.
"We are very happy to be here," he said soon after the floating market opened this week.
"Indeed it is good to do business like this within a clean environment. I was doing business in the Bastian road for 27 years and it was a noisy and very unclean environment,"
"But now the environment has completely changed."
"There are about 4 to 5 sellers in a boat. We pay 10,000 rupees as a rent which we split and bare."
The boats are in section of Colombo's Beira Lake which runs near their former places of business.
The complex has 92 trade stalls restaurants and public convenience facilities.
Sri Lanka's Urban Development Authority which says others will also get stalls.
“I pay about 4000 rupees for this stall and I don’t mind paying it, because we have a good environment to do business now," says VijithaThennakoon, who sells fruits and vegetables.
“I was doing business for 20 years in the road, but I couldn't bring my wife or kids to the shop, because of the bad environment. But now I can."
"I was paying 5000 rupees as a rent for the shop which I was doing business earlier," adds K D Padmini, a fruit seller who comes from the Kollonnawa area.
"I have no problem paying 2500 rupees for a clean environment like this. We have been given water, electricity and sanitary facilities and I’m happy,” said tearful Padmini.
Authorities say costs have been kept down with military labour power of Sri Lanka Army and Navy personnel becoming involved.
The UDA is expecting local and foreign visitors to patronize the floating market.
The profile of her customers has already changed, Padmini said.
"I noticed a different crowd who comes to these shops for the last two days," she said.
"I am surprised to see that. Because I have never seen a this type of customers in my 25 years of Bastian road."