…Thromde says operations will start in July after the allotment in June

Lhakpa Quendren 

Gelephu—While the newly constructed integrated vegetable market in Gelephu brings much-needed help to vendors, they find the wait for relocation too long, as the monsoon has already started hitting them in the current deteriorating shed.

The two-storied shed was completed on April 3 after missing three deadlines, the last set for September 2023. The structure was handed over to Gelephu thromde management on April 15, but operations will start in July after allotment in June.

Vendors, however, are urging the thromde to expedite the relocation due to issues associated with the current vegetable shed, including seepage of water and direct heat under the CIG sheet during monsoon.

Current vegetable shed is fraught with rain seepage and direct heat problems

A vendor, Chonga Dema, said that the plastics they use to shield against rain and heat are all torn. “We did not buy new plastics thinking they would go to waste if the relocation happens soon. But the much-needed relief is far from reaching, at least for now.”

“We have to visit the nearby restaurants to use their washroom. Sometimes, we hesitate, and other times, it is embarrassing,” another vendor added. “The sheds are unhygienic as the dirty water from the waste, which piled above the shed, spreads across it.”

The Gelephu thromde administration is currently completing all the groundwork for the allotment, which they say is almost completed for the planned  relocation.

Thromde has reviewed and finalised the existing list of vendors to be accommodated in the new shed, according to officials. 

The official said that they developed management guidelines outlining eligibility criteria and the allotment process. Additionally, they have established a management committee consisting of members from relevant stakeholders.

The integrated vegetable shed, situated a few meters opposite the current market, has 64 compartments equipped with fans. The facilities include meat shops, attached public toilets, and an unloading shed, among others.

The contractors, Chukha Construction Private Limited attributed the delay to  lack of skilled workers and a shortage of labourers during the pandemic. Heavy rainfall and the congested site, with a large drain behind the construction area, further aggravated the slow work progress during the monsoon.

The construction of the shed began in February 2021 at Nu 44 million, funded by the Government of India’s small grants project.