The famous dried fish (sukhua) market along NH-16 at Humma in Ganjam district is struggling to maintain its distinct identity in absence of proper infrastructure. The market, believed to be Asia’s largest, is not only popular among locals but also people from neighbouring states. However, despite its popularity, the market does not have basic facilities.

Around 40 varieties of dried fish are available in the market which comes alive on Sundays as consumers and traders visit it in large numbers. Sources said the rush at the market often causes traffic jams on the highway as there is no parking space. At least 300 traders conduct business in the market.

Sources said in 2018, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik laid the foundation stone for construction of a hygienic market complex with required infrastructure at the place. The project, undertaken at a cost of Rs 5 crore, was supposed to be completed within 11 months. However, it was delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Contacted, Chhatrapur MLA Subash Behera said construction work of the market complex is in final stage and will be completed soon. Apart from inadequate infrastructure, traders at the market are also facing the brunt of rise in the price of salt. Production of salt at Humma Binchanapalli salt production and sales cooperative has dwindled considerably over the last few years.

President of fishermen’s community K Alleyya said the price of a 50 kg bag of salt has doubled from Rs 170 to Rs 340. Around 8-10 kg salt is required to process a quintal of dried fish. Besides salt, turmeric is used to process dried fish which is left to dry under the sun for days.