Brightly painted kiosks made of fire-retardant and waterproof materials such as mild steel and cement fibreboards have been designed by architects as replacement for hawkers’ stalls in Gariahat.
Mayor Firhad Hakim checked out two such kiosks at the office of the Calcutta Architecture Foundation, which has designed the booths, at Hindustan Park on Wednesday evening.
“We have designed two kinds of kiosks. In one, the doors open horizontally and in the other they open vertically,” said Rukmini Mukherjee, a member of the foundation.
The kiosks are 8ft high to ensure enough clearance above the head of a person walking on the footpath.
Five more kiosks have been built at the Calcutta Municipal Corporation’s (CMC) workshop in Entally.
Mayor Hakim had called for an end to plastic-wrapped stalls after a fire, suspected to have started from a stall on the pavement, gutted a portion of a landmark building at the Gariahat crossing that housed Adi Dhakeswari Bastralaya and Traders Assembly in January.
Hakim had suggested building stalls with wheels to allow the hawkers to shift them after the day’s business.
Hawkers had been shown a model stall, about which they had expressed reservations. They found the stall “too small” at one-third of the width that many pavement businesses occupy.
The architects had shown their design to the mayor in February and built two kiosks as prototypes. Their initial plan didn’t have provision for wheels, which were later included.
The kiosks can accommodate hangers for displaying items. An extended overhead shade would act as protection from rain. “Since the materials are waterproof, the hawkers would not need any overhead cover,” Rukmini said.
The exterior of the stalls is washable. They can be cleaned to retain the fresh, bright look.
The length and width of the stalls would be finalised based on the width of each pavement. The hawker rules framed by the Bengal government make it mandatory to keep two-third of a footpath’s width free for pedestrians.
“We have also made provision for advertisements that could bring revenue for the hawkers. Also, the façade of all shops behind the stalls would be visible from the road,” said Abin Chaudhuri, architect.
The CMC will hand over the stalls built at its workshop to five hawkers on Thursday evening.
“We will hand over stalls to 30 hawkers in Gariahat whose stalls were gutted in the fire in January. Every week we will hand over five stalls,” said Tarak Singh, the mayoral council member who is overseeing the construction of the stalls..
Source: Telegraph India