English | Dzongkha Friday, November 24, 2017

Chamkhar’s vegetable vendors irked by lack of space, monthly rent

Kipchu, Bumthang
Jun 28, 2017

  Vegetable vendors in Chamkhar town, Bumthang are not happy after the Thromde Representative Office started charging them monthly rent of Nu 900 for the vegetable shed in the market.

The shed was reconstructed by the Dzongkhag Administration in March this year after it was dismantled during last winter’s fire disaster. The rent has been collected twice so far.

Rent for shed

Each vendor is allotted a demarcated space sizing a little more than a meter wide. For that space, they are charged Nu 900 as rent which is inclusive of the electricity bill.

The  Thromde Representative Office, say the rent was collected to maintain cleanliness and manage waste in the vegetable market.

“The money collected will be used for the good of themselves and we are not going to keep it,” Sangay Phuntsho, the committee member of the Thromde Representative Office, told the BBS. “Whatever amount that’s left after the procurement of dustbins will remain in the committee’s account and if required, we are ready to prove the expenditures with bills.”

He said they have already distributed dustbins to the vendors in the last couple of days.

However, some of the sellers are questioning if the amount charged is reasonable enough to justify the services that they are provided with.

“If they collect Nu 900 per month, how are we supposed to survive?” questioned Gem Lham, whose earning sometimes is barely enough to pay the rent.

“The Thromde Representative Office says they want to buy dustbin and all but they may not buy a dustbin every month and I think the electric bill won’t be too high, so we can pay it individually,” she added.

The Thromde Representative Office however clarifies that the rent collected hereafter will be used to renovate the public toilet that’s located near the vegetable market. It will also be spent when required in the future.

Space not enough

Although there are 18 spaces in the shed, but that isn’t enough for a large number of sellers that has been growing in recent years.

“In the past, there were not many sellers and those that were there were all local people,” said a vendor from Pedtseling, Kuenzang Choden. “Now, people from other parts of the country also come here and start selling vegetables.”

Without much space available, local vendors can’t help than to occupy a space outside the shed on the street. “This is affecting our business and we are having a tough time,” added Kuenzang Choden.

Local vegetable vendors say, there were only about eight of them in the last couple of years but the number has shot up to over 20 as of today.

“There is no way we can stop quarrelling over the space here,” said another vegetable seller, Sonam Yangzom, adding that they would be grateful if local vendors are provided a separate shed.

The space was demarcated and allotted by the Dzongkhag Agriculture Sector through a lucky draw. The Dzongkhag Agriculture Officer says the vendors themselves chose to have the seating arrangement that way. He also added that the sector initially planned to allot the spaces with the vendors seated back-to-back. The vendors were doubtful that only the row facing towards the street would be able to attract customers according to the Agriculture Officer.

Meanwhile, the vendors have now decided to write to the Dzongkhag Administration regarding the issue.

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