A concept and facility intended to facilitate residents in their daily vegetable and grocery shopping has now morphed into an ill-maintained urban mess. The Apni Mandi concept is now floundering due to the MC’s inability to provide basic facilities like car parking, mobile toilets and parking.
What makes the situation worse is that the municipal corporation is aware of the situation and yet has not acted on recommendations made three years ago. In the most recent meeting of the committee held on September 12, councillors mandated officers to conduct surprise checks.
However, most of the members told HT that they had little hope as minutes of the meetings were never implemented.
Only five meetings of committee since 2012
What makes the neglect of apni mandis especially inexcusable is the fact that members of the apni mandi committee have met only five times since 2012, while rules mandate that it must meet once a month. Sources said before 1996, farmers could set up stalls.
When the MC took over, it started registrations and became the controlling authority.
Since then there has been a steady decline in the attractiveness of getting your groceries from
here. Still, more than 5,000 people visit the mandis every day.
The problems and lack of response
Rules mandate that a rate list has to be displayed, mobile toilets have to be provided and cleanliness has to be maintained. However, none of this is at display in any of the mandis across the week. It is not as if the MC is unaware of the issues.
HT has learnt through the minutes of an April 2012 meeting that issues like cleanliness, lack of toilets and parking were flagged even then, but nothing was done.
Speaking to HT, chairman of the apni mandi committee, Desh Raj Gupta, said, “In spite of several reminders and directions, the officers concerned refuse to budge. I am giving them a month’s time, failing which I will resign from the committee.”
Former member of the committee, Major DS Sandhu (retd) said these issues were flagged during a meeting of coordinating committee with Urvija Goel, ASP, South, last week. The condition of the Sector-43 apni mandi was on the agenda.
The ‘apni mandi’ or ‘farmer’s market’ refers to local fruit and vegetable markets. In Chandigarh, apni mandis are held in four zones and days are fixed. The idea is to provide fresh fruits and vegetables at low prices from the producer to the consumer.