Despite recommendations of the Chandigarh municipal corporation’s apni mandi committee two months back, the civic body has failed to streamline the functioning of these markets.
In its recommendations, the committee had asked for surprise checks in apni mandis, installation of mobile toilets and ban on the use of poly bags at these sites. The committee also decided to urge the police to regulate traffic near apni mandis. However, no MC official or committee member visited the mandis in the past two months to implement the recommendations.
During a reality check of these mandis by HT, it was found that poly bags were still being used by vendors. There are no mobile toilets or checks on overcharging and traffic chaos was the order of the day near these markets. Besides, piles of garbage left behind are not cleared for days.
USE OF POLY BAGS RAMPANT
Despite a ban, polybags being rampantly used by vendors at apni mandi in Sec-34, Chandigarh on Sunday.(Gurminder Singh/HT)
At a meeting on May 12, the MC decided to issue letters to licensees for strict implementation of the ban of poly bags in apni mandis. In case of default, the licence would be cancelled immediately. The civic body enforcement staff and the junior engineer concerned were also directed to check the use of poly bags. However, nothing has been done so far.
Chairperson of the apni mandi committee Heera Negi admitted that the panel has not conducted surprise checks in these markets. Despite directions, the MC officials also didn’t visit the mandis, said Negi adding: “We will again hold a meeting to streamline the process.”
COMMITTEE DEMANDS FINANCIAL POWERS
To have its say and to manage the market affairs in a better way, the apni mandi committee has demanded financial powers of `15 lakh. The money would be used for setting up digital boards displaying rate list and other information. The issue will come up in the house meeting to be held on Wednesday.
Since the past decade, the MC authorities have failed to streamline functioning of apni mandis, which have now turned into ill-maintained urban mess. The day-market concept, which was devised to facilitate locals as well as farmers by eliminating middlemen, seems defeated due to the civic body’s inability to manage the mandi affairs.
The apni mandi committee members said they had recommended some improvements for streamlining the functioning of the day markets, but officials concerned had failed to implement the same. Things have gone from bad to worse, they added.
In general, around 400 stalls are set up at a mandi and piles of garbage is left behind in absence of a proper arrangement for lifting the litter.
Sources say before 1996, independent farmers could set up stalls at the designated sites. After the MC took over, it started registrations and since then there has been a steady decline in the number of farmers visiting these mandis. According to rough estimates, 6,000 people visit these mandis, divided into four zones, on a given day.
MC SITS ON RECOMMENDATIONS
According to the norms, apni mandis should have proper display of rate list, mobile toilets and hygiene should be maintained. However, the MC, even after being aware of these issues, chooses to sit on the recommendations made by the committee.
Former member of the committee major DS Sandhu (retd) said: “All these issues were also flagged during a coordinating committee meet with assistant superintendent of police, south, Urvija Goel, last year. As the poor condition of the Sector-43 apni mandi was on the agenda, it was highlighted that vehicles parked on the V-3 road dividing Sectors 42-B and 43-A were causing traffic snarls. The issue of vendors occupying the cycle track between the site and the road to evade licence fee was also discussed,” he said.
An apni mandi or a farmers’ market refers to a local fruit and vegetable market which is organised by the Punjab Mandi Board. Each vendor pays Rs 500 rent to the MC for using the space. The Punjab Mandi Board fixes the rates of vegetables and fruits.