PDP says MLCP not fit as a business place

Yangyel Lhaden

The Thimphu thromde is rushing to meet the two-month deadline to construct vegetable markets across the city to enable vendors of the Centenary Farmers’ Market to resume business.

Construction works are going in the identified zones such as Motithang, Chang Gidaphu, and two in the Babesa area. Construction of mini vegetable markets began on September 15 and would be completed within two months. The Thromde has also started to refurbish the area identified for vendors at the two multi-level car parking (MLCP). The MLCP would be readied with platforms or counters  for vendors to sell their vegetables by next Friday.

Despite criticism from various quarters, Thimphu Thrompon, Kinlay Dorjee said that as an interim measure for Covid-19 safety protocol, the CFM would remain close and the vending facility at the MLCP would remain as one of the vegetable markets in the Upper Norzin Lam zone. “MLCP is being redone and after completion of the platforms/counters there would be no dust and MLCP had enough ventilation, Thrompon said. “One should come and witness.”


Construction of shelves and counters have started at the MLCP

The government’s decision to close the CFM had come under a lot of criticism. The latest was from the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

Yesterday, the party through a press release stated that if Covid-19 was the reason for closure of CFM, the MLCP was not the right place due to poor ventilation. The party’s press release stated that the abrupt closure of CFM has affected the vendors with women the most affected.

The party called upon the government to open the CFM immediately.

“CFM is a landmark and it should not close down even after satellite vegetable markets are constructed. It could operate with half the capacity and constructing satellite vegetable markets should be completed as soon as possible so that livelihood of vendors are not affected,” the press release stated.

The party also recommended spreading out customers at the CFM by increasing trading days. “We propose that the market be open seven days a week and even keep it open for night shopping,” the press release stated. “Shopping can be done based on the newly established zones on specific day and timing (morning, afternoon and evening).”

Most of the vendors who lost their business after the closure of the CFM are at home. Yesterday, a vendor was seen at the MLCP to follow up on the counter construction progress. She said that once everything was completed and all vendors move in, business would pick up. Vendors who came to sell from the MLCP complained about the dust and didn’t continue selling after a few days.

On the vendors not having space to sell, Thrompon Kinlay Dorjee said that the thromde gave vendors the choice to continue selling at CFM before the mini vegetable markets were completed, but vendors couldn’t agree among themselves. “Vendors said it was not fair for some to sell at the CFM and others at the MLCP.  “So the plan was dropped,” the Thrompon said.

The CFM was abruptly closed on September 14 reasoning that the area was a high-risk area for Covid-19.