The rationale behind decongesting the CFM

The decongestion of Centenary Farmer’s Market (CFM) near Changlimithang, Thimphu reflects the evolution of oldest vegetable market and landmarks as the dynamism of developmental movement. With the change and need, decongestion of CFM has a worthy rationale. All should welcome the change.

Perhaps, with the ancestral significance and given it lie at the very heart of the city for the supply and delivery of vegetables it was designated at the present site.

Congestion of cities following rapid urbanization is a national concern that has necessitated initiatives on making cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Thimphu Thromde had been talking to decongest the vegetable market. The outbreak of pandemic made it was a necessary step to decongest the CFM with people and vehicles crowded which made difficult to maintain physical space. The decongestion exercise is finally taking shape and seems people understand the objectives, which gives more benefit.

In its initial COVID-19 response, the government’s ideas to decongest the CFM such as allowing minimum numbers of stall in rotation in separate time and allocation of slots in different areas were beleaguered by netizens.

With single point and with around 458 stalls, CFM became overcrowded, especially during the weekends. It became inconvenient to implement the safety protocol during the pandemic. There are also some other related factors like sanitation and parking space which could deteriorate the city.

Decongestion efforts so far have focused on making public spaces comfortable and safer. Little attention has been paid to food market decongestion and development, whereby food markets are provided water facilities, public toilets, upgraded stalls and other facilities that will ensure the safe use of the market place.

The recent step taken up by the government to decongest the market is for broader benefits of balance distributions of outlets and development, including the prevention of the spread of COVID-19.

Beyond immense public health benefits, the decongestion of CFM and development of vegetable markets in different locations will reduce transportation costs in carting goods and offer substantial savings for market users.

The fuel usage will reduce and carbon emission will reduce. The time of people will be saved and other untoward incidents. These are the rationale for decongestion of CFM by Dasho Dr Lotay Tshering-led government.

The savings could be offset by higher rental fees and for other necessary expenses.

Proper planning and decongestion of markets adds to the aesthetics of cities and contributes to the achievement of SDG 11, which focuses on making cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. This provides amenities and convenience for all the public.

The establishment of zone markets and the developing infrastructure would serve as outlets of equal distribution.

Given the wide range of benefits of market decongestion and development, it is important to consider the changes and laud the government’s efforts for creating alternatives for our farmers and small businessmen.

The successful decongestion of CFM and rehabilitating the vendors to different localities, despite all the flaks and challenges pointed out, is a laudable move by the government. However, much is left to be seen of a government who has only about two more years to reign.