Chhimi Dema

Vendors from the Centenary Farmers’ Market (CFM) in Thimphu appealed to the Prime Minister (PM) on Monday after the decision to relocate to different zones by the thromde. 

In the letter dated September 13, the vendors indicated that if the CFM is closed due to the pandemic they would not engage in business transaction at CFM. The vendors requested the PM to allow vending in three locations including CFM.

Furthermore, the vendors requested PM to intervene and allow them to return to CFM if there were plans for the current relocation to be considered for an indefinite time.

Chencho Tshering, a vendor from CFM, said that they have not heard from the PM.

He said that there was no prior plans to relocate them. “The decision was made unexpectedly. Our livelihood is affected.”

The decision to relocate the vendors of CFM to different zones across the thromde is in line with the government’s directive.

About 80 fruit and cereal vendors from CFM gathered at the thromde office for “lucky draw”. The vendors will get new location.

A cereal vendor from Punakha said: “Moving to a new location will hamper our sales as we lose our regular customers.”

However, some vendors support the decision for relocation.

Sonam Dorji, a vendor from Paro, said that considering the current situation, the government’s decision was right.

He said: “If the old vendors were made to leave and new vendors were given the space then it becomes an issue. When the situation gets better, hopefully, we can occupy the same space.”

The business owners above the CMF were worried that with the relocation of vendors their livelihood was at stake.

Tshering Yangden, 40, from Zhemgang, said that she had no customers for the past three days. “In a month, about Nu 50,000 is spent running a bar.  It is difficult for us to make ends meet.”

Tshering Dorji, a shop owner, said that without the vendors at CFM his business was affected significantly. “Shops in vicinity survive because of customers walking to the CFM and the meat shops.”

A resident from Babesa said that the decision made by the government allowed her to shop conveniently in the neighbourhood. “Making trips to CFM on weekends was a hassle. I do not get parking space and the area is crowded.”