Yangyel Lhaden

Vegetable vendors of the Centenary Farmers Market (CFM) will start selling vegetables from different areas of the city. Following a notification, on Friday, from the Prime Minister’s Office stating that the CFM would remain closed, Thimphu thromde is working to place vegetable vendors in zones identified during the lockdown and the two multi-level parking buildings.

Vendors took part in a “lucky draw” yesterday for the new locations where they would be vending from. Vegetable vendors at the CFM were out of business since the nationwide lockdown. The vendors said that they were worried when the CFM was not allowed to open after the relaxation of lockdown.

Most vegetable vendors wished for a place in the town and some walked out from the National Land Commission (NLC) Office, where the “lucky draw’ was held, disappointed with their luck.

Tshering Yangzom who has been in the vegetable business since she was 12 said that she would lose her regular customers and selling at Babesa was like telling her to leave her home- CFM. She got Babesa during the draw.

Another vendor said that she prayed to get a good location. Her prayers were answered.  “When I opened the paper, it said in one of the multi-level parking buildings. I was happy I got the zone I wished for,” she said.

Vendor Punam didn’t want to risk her chance. She volunteered to go to Changbangdu when officials asked if anybody wanted to go to Changbangdu. She said, “I thought Changbangdu is a better location than picking a paper which would force me to go to Serbithang.” Serbithang is also one of the zones included in the zonation.

Those who got areas far away from the town were left disappointed. Some got Serbithang, which many said didn’t make sense to include in the zonation. Ashamriya Rai, who sells only local produce, said that on average she sold between Nu 4,000 and Nu 5,000 every day from the CFM. “It is hard to imagine making a livelihood out of selling vegetables if we are placed in a blind spot of the town,” she said. “Will the thromde ask people to shop only from their zone? This would help vendors.”