Vegetable: Six vegetable vendors sell vegetables in temporary sheds below the parking space and near the old public toilet in Trongsa town. This is because dzongkhag officials did not allow them to sell vegetables at the vegetable shed near Dungkhor recently.

Vegetable vendors said that dzongkhag officials imposed fines and chased them out. “We had to pitch tents and sell our vegetables by the road, which also became an issue with the officials,” one of the vendors said.

The dzongkhag has provided them with a temporary space where they have constructed their own temporary shed. Some 16 vendors appealed to the dzongkhag.

Vendors said that they spent quite a lot building temporary sheds. They do not know when they will be told to leave the place.

“Some permanent vegetable vendors are still in the vegetable shed,” they said.

Lhamo, a vendor, said that she spent Nu 170,000 to build the shelter.  She procured wood from Bumthang. Lhamo was fined twice before she could move out. Another vegetable vendor, Tshering, spent Nu 17,000 to construct her shelter.

Shiva Kumari, 38, said she spent about Nu 60,000 for construction of her shelter. “I am not able to sell the vegetables like I used to in the previous place,” she said.

Dzongkhag Agriculture officer, Karma Chewang, said the vegetable shed above the road near Dungkhor was meant for only villagers who come in the morning and return home in the evening. These permanent vendors, who also sold imported vegetables permanently, occupied the shelter and villagers could not find space. They were once told to move out.

Karma Chewang said the issue was first discussed in the seventh Dzongkhag Tshogdu (DT) and the permanent vegetable venders were restricted from doing business there. A penalty system was also introduced by forming a committee with members from dzongkhag and other relevant agencies.

In 2012, the DT endorsed rules and regulations for vegetable sheds. “But due to external interference, this could not be implemented accordingly,” the DAO said.

According to the decision of the 12th DT in 2015, the vegetable vendors were served with a one-month notice to vacate. Vegetable vendors had appealed to the dzongkhag and the dzongkhag let them sell their vegetables at the present site with a condition that they should leave as and when the dzongkhag comes up with the developmental activities.

Karma Chewang said the committee fined the venders as they refused to move out even after the present site was allocated. Some people at the vegetable shed sell local products.

“We will send them out if villagers cannot be accommodated,” he said.

Nima Wangdi | Trongsa