Having a proper shed and market can be a boon for farmers and sellers. However, selling vegetables has become a tiring venture for vegetable vendors in Bumthang.
The vendors say the lack of a proper shed has become the most pertinent issue for them as they do not have a platform to display and sell their goods.
The vegetable market of Chamkhar town in Bumthang had not been in good condition for long and is exposed to both rain and sun according to the vegetable vendors. In addition, water also seeps into the floors from the numerous cracks and seepages and pose undue inconveniences to sellers.
The temporary tarpaulin roofs also add to the heat which expedites the rotting processes thereby aggravating the farmers and vendors.
With no protection around the other problems faced by the vendors are stray animals entering into the stall especially cattle consuming vegetables while street dogs slept on their packed vegetables trays at night making surrounding and stalls messy.
Sonam, 52, who had been selling vegetables for nine years in the town said the vegetable vendors of Chamkhar town had been facing the same problems for about eight years. She said vendors are left exposed in weather elements and that it was also inconvenient for buyers thronging the place.
She said that despite approaching several times to the concern authority, there is no action. “We pay a monthly rent Nu 1,000 but we are not provided services,” she said.
Tshering Phuntsho, 59, said that the present vegetable market stall is narrow and cramped. He said with the leakage of rain it further complicates the lives of the vendors. He also said that with no proper protections, vendors had to pile and arrange the vegetables by evening and display in the morning.
The vendor said that forget of officials solving the problem, “they event don’t let us mend ourselves.” He said that though vendors informed the dzongkhag officials, “they never looked into the matter.”
Ugyen Tshomo said that it would be convenient for vendors if officials provide plywood to cover the entrances and with metal shutters in the front which could also protect their goods.
Kinzang Lhamo shared that cattle spoil the vegetables and street dogs cut the ropes. She said that before displaying the vegetables vendors have to always clean the mess created by these scavenging animlas.
“We bring vegetables from far places and have incurred huge losses from the vegetables spoiled by the domestic animals and due to rotting as there is no proper shed,” Kinzang Lhamo said.
Meanwhile, Bumthang dzongkhag municipal officials said though the complaints are true the welfare of the vendors are taken care by the authorities.
The Dzongkhag Municipal In-charge Rinzin Wangmo said that sheds are made available for the vendor but officials cannot allocate space to new vendors. “The available infrastructure are shared on fair manner based on lucky-draws and we cannot give more than what is being given now,” she said.
The Municipal In-charge also said that the present vegetable market area is leased till 2023 and cannot go with temporary plan. She said Dzongkhag officials always got to work in line with the blueprint of ‘their long-term plans.
The Bumthang Dzongkahg Town Inspector Kuenzang said that as the period of leased market space will expire in 2023, the concern authority cannot make further development.
Clarifying on the issue of rents collected from the vendors, Kuenzang said that the amount collected are deposited in Current Deposit (CD) Account and used for maintenance, waste management and for fuel. He said that there is no separate account for the vegetable market rent.
The town Inspector said that despite telling vendors that it is not for temporary purpose none heeded him.
He added that the vendors think everything should be tackled by the municipal after they pay rent. Despite no manpower in the Dzongkhag Municipal section, he said they do their best to serve the public and they should also cooperate with them.
Meanwhile, Bumthang Dzongdag Kesang Choden Dorji said that the vegetable market sheds are fairly maintained and did not receive any complain thus far.
“There is neither any written complaint from the vendors nor any issues raised from the vendors regarding the market shed. The Dzongkhag will inspect the situation and if the matter is serious, and will be addressed soon,” the dzongdag said.