With the Cabinet endorsing the proposal of Centenary Farmers’ Market (CFM) board to decongest the market two weeks ago, vendors who did not take allotted space in zones are now worried.

CFM authorities informed vendors in a WeChat group a month ago to take vegetable counters in the zones, as CFM would be decongested.

A vendor selling dried vegetables, Chencho Dema, said she could not move out of CFM, as she was allotted multi-level car parking (MLCP) in lucky dip, but not allotted an alternative zone.

She said none from thromde called her about the zone replacement.

Temporary vegetable market in MLCPs had been out of business since March, as business never picked up.

A CFM tshogpa, Dendup, said he asked vendors to sell at MLCPs while they waited for their turn to sell at CFM.

He said officials with KCR Private Limited asked if 20 and 25 vendors could come to sell at MLCP, they would exempt rent for six months.

CFM vendors did a lucky dip to relocate in zones last year when the government announced CFM’s closure due to increasing risk of Covid-19. 

Vendors have been moving out of CFM as and when the vegetable sheds in zones were ready.

Some vendors are selling in minor vegetable markets in zones such as Chang Gidaphu, Chang Ziri, Kawajangsa, Langjophakha, Dangsina, and Changjiji, most vendors are still selling in CFM in one third its capacity.

CFM board met in April to allow vendors to continue selling at CFM in one-third its capacity until the completion of sheds in the zones.

Vendors said zones would only accommodate one-fifth of them and there were more than 500 vendors.

There are only 112 counters in a big vegetable market in Babesa Lam-Tag, six medium vegetable markets, and eight minor markets in zones.

While a few businesses at the zones are doing well, many complained it was difficult. A vendor in Changjiji said business was bad because of lack of parking space, overpriced rent, and vegetable market in Olakha. “Vegetable markets in other zones have a storeroom, attached toilet and rent is about Nu 4,000. We  pay Nu 7,000 a compartment.”

A vendor in Kawajangsa, Phub Gyem, said business would pick up only if CFM closed.

Meanwhile, a vendor in Dangsina, Ugyen Chezom, said it was more comfortable to sell in the zone since there is a storeroom and attached toilet.

By Yangyel Lhaden

Edited by Tashi Dema