Kalimati vegetables market resumes operation

Kathmandu, April 14

The Kalimati Fruits and Vegetables Market has resumed in a full-fledged manner after a huge crowd started gathering at the Balkhu Agriculture Vegetables Market.

With an aim to maintain social distance among people, the Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) had decided to halt retail trade from Kalimati Fruits and Vegetables Market by operating temporary vegetable markets in several areas in the valley. However, due to lack of proper infrastructure, traders refused to set up their stalls in those temporary markets. Hence, all the retailers and wholesalers had shifted base to the Balkhu Agriculture Vegetables Market.

“Vegetables are daily essentials due to which the vegetable markets had become crowded. So, to maintain social distance, we had partially closed the Kalimati market, however, our action backfired with uncontrollable crowds at Balkhu market,” said Hari Bahadur Bhandari, chief of agriculture department at KMC.

As the KMC had to take a decision in haste, they are yet to set up proper infrastructure at the temporary markets and because of this the traders refused to set up their stalls there, he added.

“Vegetable markets are a spot from where the coronavirus could easily spread, hence we have to carefully manage such markets,” he added.

Meanwhile, traders have returned to Kalimati market from today. As per the Kalimati Fruits and Vegetables Market Development Committee, although the crowd is not like in the previous days, starting from today, retail trade has also started.

“As the Kalimati market has started from today, we expected the size of the crowd to be thinner in the Balkhu market,” said Shyam Lamichhane, market manager of Balkhu market.

“The Balkhu market is smaller in size and after the Kalimati market was partially closed, big vehicles also started entering here which compounded the problem,” he added. “Although we were trying to manage the available space, the crowd had been swelling.”

Amid this, a committee has been formed today during a meeting held between KMC and traders to materialise the KMC’s plan to set up temporary markets.

Both the parties have signed a 12-point agreement to manage such markets. As per the agreement, vegetables and fruits will be first brought and stored at the Kalimati and Balkhu markets. Traders will set up their stalls in the 11 selected places where KMC will ensure all the facilities. The traders will arrange the vehicles to transport their produce from Kalimati and Balkhu to the temporary markets and the District Administration Office (DAO) will arrange passes for their transportation.

As loading and unloading had become difficult for traders at the temporary markets, KMC has taken party palaces on rent for the market. Shikhar Party Palace of Kalanki Chowk, Royal Banquet of Bafal Chowk, Star Banquet of Swoyambhu, Rajdhani Banquet at Banasthali Chowk, Sky Party Palace at Gongabu Chowk, Yeti Events at Basundhara Chowk and Navadurga Party Venue which is close to Gopi Krishna Cinema Hall have been taken on rent to set up the temporary markets.

Likewise, Tinkune Vegetable Market at Tinkune, Shanti Bidhyagriha Higher Secondary School at Lainchaur, Old Buspark at Ratnapark and vegetable market at Koteshwor Chowk will be provided with more facilities to operate temporary vegetable markets in these places. Meanwhile, the DAO will ensure social distancing and security for safety of the shoppers, traders and their produce.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on April 15, 2020 of The Himalayan Times.