KCR management doesn’t want to manage the vegetable market 

Yangyel Lhaden

The two multi-level car parks in Thimphu could remain as a vegetable market for upper Norzin lam and lower Norzin lam even if the planned vegetable markets in the identified zones are completed.

Thimphu thrompon, Kinlay Dorjee said that even if vendors at the MLCPs move out to the zones, the thromde would give the slots at MLCPs to new vendors. However, the decision to let the parking space continue as a vegetable market or close would depend on government directives.

“Our interest is to maintain the MLCP as a parking building and if the usage of the MLCPs increases, the vendors will be re-located,” the thrompon said. There are also talks about closing Norzin Lam to traffic as the thromde is mulling a major renovation of the sewerage lines along the city’s main thoroughfare.

The thromde gave 100 slots to Centenary Farmers’ Market (CFM) vendors and new vendors at the MLCP 2 near the thromde office, but only about 25 vendors are vending from the building. Thromde officials said that MLCP 1, near Hong Kong market, would be opened for vendors depending on the success at the MLCP2, near the thromde office. Counters at MLCP 1 are also completed, but not awarded to vendors.

Business at MLCP

Without business picking up at the MLCP 2, new vendors are worried they might incur loss. MLCPs management, KCR private limited, thromde, and vendors are expecting business to pick up when all counters are at its full capacity and after a formal launch.

Two vendors from CFM are vending from MLCP 2. A vendor, Tshering, said that business was bad at MLCP 2, but as she had been into business for a long time, her regular customers came to buy from her. She said that when her turn to sell at CFM comes, she would sell from there.

A vendor could sell from multiple locations if they pay monthly rent. 

The MLCPs are properties of KCR. The Thromde did not want to intervene in KCR’s property and handed over the vegetable market to KCR. Today, 110 parking slots are occupied by vegetable counters at the MLCP 2.

After few weeks into management, KCR submitted a letter to the thromde office requesting to surrender the management of vegetable markets. 

KCR’s general manager, Jamyang Tenzin said that if they had to manage the vegetable markets they needed additional manpower of about 20 people which they could not afford. We spent huge amount of money for the counters and we are doubtful if we could even get the first month’s rent from the vendors, he said. The rent is not fixed, but KCR is expecting the rent from vendors to be equivalent to the parking fees charged for 12 hours for each vendor.

 “MLCPs are already running in loss and if we take up the management we will obviously charge higher rent,” said the general manager. 

Rent at the MLCPs, as per thromde, would be the same charged for vendors at the CFM. Rent at the CFM ranges from Nu 2,500 to Nu 7,000 a month depending on the location of the counters.

Jamyang Tenzin said that CFM was well managed with a proper management system in place for a longtime. “We will have issues if we take up the management of the two MLCPs. “Even with only 25 vendors, we have to manage three boleros of waste every day.”

The thromde and KCR will iron out issues related to rent and management in a meeting next week.