Market: With the increase in the number of vegetable vendors in Bhangtar bazaar, Samdrupcholing dungkhag, most of the vendors have been forced to display their vegetables in temporary makeshifts.
There is only one vegetable shed in the area, about 20 minutes drive from the gewog centre. Locals say there is a need for a proper vegetable market in Bhangtar bazaar.
Travelling to the vegetable shed a day ahead of the Sunday market has not been easy for vegetable vendors from Phuntshothang gewog. The farmers spend a night around the vegetable market.
Vendors from Martshala, Pemathang and Phuntshothang travel almost an hour to reach the market. Farmers from the far-flung villages of Wangphu and Gomdar gewogs also travel more than a day to reach there.
Members of the bazaar tshogpa said some farmers sell their produce on Saturday to avoid congestion on Sunday.
Karma Jamtsho, Secretary of Bhangtar bazaar, said the issue had been raised by the community time and again but nothing concrete had come out. He said that the community was told that a budget had been kept aside by the government.
“We were told that the gewog was asked to submit a proposal for vegetable sheds by the Jomotsangkha-Martshala MP Pelzang Wangchuk,” he said. “But we are not aware what happened after that.”
Phuntshothang gup Sangay said although it was true that additional sheds were needed, no separate budget was allocated. “We were asked to see if there was a need to construct additional sheds,” he said.
Accordingly, he said the gewog came up with a proposal to have two vegetable sheds, a public toilet and a barbed fencing. The gewog submitted the Nu 2.375 million proposal to the MP and requested him to see if there was any fund.
Today, the gewog is still waiting for an official response from the MP. Although there is no official word yet, locals said the MP had once informed that the proposal was approved.
“But we are worried that the investment might go to waste if the township has to be shifted to another place,” the gup said.
According to locals, the township had been delayed by more than 20 years. They said they are not hopeful that construction of a new town in the area will be undertaken any time soon.
Meanwhile, the agriculture office has converted two units of the shed into a “farm shop” where the Food Corporation of Bhutan (FCB) will sell farming equipment to farmers.
Bazaar tshogpa Leki Dakpa said they were not against opening such shops but the gewog tshogde had decided that the “farm shop would be in the gewog. “But we don’t know how it was approved,” he said.
“We knew about the decision only after we received a letter from the FCB, thanking us for giving the space,” he said. “This has further aggravated the problem.”
However, the gup said the farm shop, which is yet to be operational, would benefit villagers from nearby gewogs. “Only a few shopkeepers are making noise because they don’t want the FCB to run the farm shop,” the gup said.
Meanwhile, MP Pelzang Wangchuk said he had already submitted the proposal and was approved by the Regional Research Center in Weringla, Mongar. But he said he was not able to tell when the works would start.
By Yangchen C Rinzin, Samdrupcholing