Two temporary vegetable markets come into operation

Kathmandu, April 11

Although the Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) had announced that it would operate a temporary vegetable market in 11 places, markets in only two places have come into operation.

Aiming to reduce the crowd and maintain social distance in the Kalimati Fruits and Vegetable Market, KMC had announced that it would operate temporary vegetable markets for both wholesale and retail trade.

However, markets have started operating only in Kalanki and Swoyambhu from Thursday.

Citing the lack of infrastructure at the temporary shelters vegetable traders have refused to set up their stalls in the places designated by the government, said Khom Prasad Ghimire, president of the Federation of Fruits and Vegetable Entrepreneurs.

“The temporary market setup lacks the very basic facilities such as electricity and toilets,” he said.

“We have to work from early in the morning and sometimes late into the night, so lack of electricity affects our work.”

Ghimire further said that there are no specific areas for loading and unloading the vegetables and fruits as the market has been set up at roadside areas. “The temporary markets can be used for retail trade but much needs to be arranged to carry out wholesale trade from these markets,” he added.

According to Ghimire, traders have to carry the vegetables to the market themselves and there is no space for storage if anything is left unsold. “Although the traders are ready to support the KMC, lack of infrastructure has made them back out from their promise,” he said.

“So, it would be better not to shift the wholesale market.”

The federation has recommended KMC and the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development to embrace other options of social distancing in vegetable markets instead of shifting the market, he added.

Meanwhile, Hari Bahadur Bhandari, chief of the agriculture department of KMC, said that the KMC is in touch with the stakeholders to sort out this issue. “We are now having discussions with vegetable traders and the District Administration Office to find a way out for this issue,” he said, agreeing that there is lack of infrastructure at the temporary markets and KMC will address this issue as soon as possible.

Soon after the lockdown, the vegetable market became the most crowded area due to which the Kalimati Fruits and Vegetable Market Development Committee had decided to halt retail trade from Kalimati and allow very few vehicles carrying vegetables inside the market starting from April 9.