Card system introduced 

Yangyel Lhaden

The Centenary Farmers’ Market (CFM) will open from tomorrow. However, the 500 or so vendors will take turns with one-third selling or five days in a week.

The CFM management has readied a card system yesterday following the appeal from vendors, on October 1, to the government to allow them to sell at one-third of the capacity. Three colour cards will be used with 170 green card holders selling for the first five days followed by yellow and blue. There are about 170 vendors in each group which means it will take two weeks for each group to sell at the CFM.

At the CFM, a single counter has two compartments. One will remain empty. CFM’s Manager, Neten, said that the Tshogpa requested the government to allow the vendor to sell at half of its capacity. “The decision was made by the government accordingly with their appeal letter,” Neten said.

The decision to resume CFM was made after the vendors gathered at the CFM to sell their produce on Saturday. The vendors refused to go the multi-level car parking (MLCP).

Thimphu Thrompon, Kinlay Dorjee, who was attending the Bhutan Broadcasting Service’s programme, “Topical Discussion” yesterday, said that none of the vendors showed interest when they were informed they could resume their business at MLCP.

The Thrompon said that the decision to close down CFM was taken well by vendors in the beginning but the plan got jeopadrised at the end. “The vendors understood the Covid-19 issue and cooperated with government’s decision during when briefed about the decision, but probably the vendors got influenced from various sources at the end,” he said.

Agriculture minister, Yeshey Penjore, who was also attending the BBS programme said that the risk of the Covid-19 pandemic was enough for government to decide the sudden closure of the CFM and the government meant well for the vendors.

Construction of vegetable markets in the zones is underway and works at MLCP is almost complete. Thrompon Kinlay Dorjee said that the thromde is receiving about 30 new applications every day from people who want to be vegetable vendors in the new zones.  “However, the priority would be given to the CFM vendors according to the government’s directive,” the Thrompon said.

A press release from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) on Saturday stated that the CFM would resume if the vendors were not willing to move out. 

The Prime Minister in the press release said, “If they do not want to move out from the existing infrastructure under any circumstances, if they are agreeable to conditions imposed, if they do not mind the entry of over 300 new vendors, we will have it so.”

CFM was abruptly closed on September 11 through a press release from the PMO.