CFM management to discuss way forward with government

Yangyel Lhaden

The management of the Centenary Farmers’ Market (CFM) will present a “way forward” including a standard operating procedure to the government today on how the market will function when it starts opening from Wednesday.

Following the incident on Saturday where vendors gathered at the CFM to sell their produce in the parking area, the Prime Minister’s Office, through a press release stated that the market would reopen from Wednesday with one third of cubicles to serve the people of that area.

One of the officials with CFM said that they were aware that vendors were discussing to do this and informed the CFM board of directors and the government regarding the matter.

CFM’s Tshogpa, Dendup said that the women vendors were discussing the decision to sell from the parking space in their WeChat group reasoning that their business was affected after CFM’s closure. “The vendors were encouraged after receiving support from the opposition and other political parties who issued media releases,” Dendup said.   

“As a last resort the women vendors made an attempt to do business along the parking area unwilling to go to multi-level car parking (MLCP).”

The vendors were supposed to start their business at MLCP on Saturday. However, none turned up at the MLCP.

The press release signed by the Prime Minister stated that if vendors wanted CFM to remain open, more than 300 new vendors would enter the business (vegetable vending) which would be placed in the identified zones. “The CFM vendors, including the ones moving to multi-level car parkings, will once again be given the priority to operate those shops in the zones,”the press release stated.

“I am also certain these same lot of vendors will come to my office six months down the line saying their businesses are affected, their livelihoods harmed, what do we do then?” Lyonchhen said. The press release also stated that moving out the vendors from the CFM was not to punish or plenalise anyone as sounded off by a few concerned. Lyonchhen said that his concern remained with the present CFM vendors, who, despite all good intentions, were being fed with information that may not help them make right decisions.

“Why would a government guided by good sense even do that? Some talk of politics but if that was really the case, why would a politically elected government make such an unpopular decision?”

Lyonchhen said that the government meant well for the vendors as gathering of sellers and buyers would be severely restricted for next few years at the CFM. “In the event of a positive case from there, we will have to resort to closing down or lockdown of the area that will gravely impact the businesses.”

Lyonchhen in the press release stated that the closure of CFM was a temporary measure adopted to unbind one of the most threatening congregations in the capital at a time when everyone was working hard to protect everyone from Covid-19.

“While the option of the car park is temporary, what is permanent is the construction of five similar structures under thromde and the vegetable outlets in over 40 zones. These open up slots for more than 300 vendors.”

Construction of vegetable markets is underway at Norzin Lam, Taba, Jungshina, Lungtenphu, Chang Gidaphu, and Babesa. It would be completed by November 15.