Residents of the city should get ready for another strike by vegetable sellers as local authorities have asked them to vacate the Khandsa wholesale market by end of the week for renovation.
The vegetable sellers had earlier gone on a five-day strike in the first week of September opposing the government’s plan to renovate the market. The strike was called off after the government assured them that the plan to convert the market into a commercial space had been cancelled.
“We were told that the plan has been cancelled and that the functioning of the market will not be disrupted. Though no letter was given to us for assurance, we were told to believe their words,” said Vinod, a wholesale vegetable seller in Khandsa market.
But local authorities recently issued a notice asking the vendors to vacate the land for construction of sheds and common platform. The notice has left the vendors confused and angry.
The notice states that the renovation work will start soon and that the area should be vacated in a day. The notice also states that if the shops are not vacated, any damage caused to them, will be borne by the shopkeepers.
“We were promised that the government will not disrupt our work or try to vacate us. A meeting will now be conducted with the union members to discuss our way forward. We will also talk to state-level unions for a strong decision,” said Inderjeet Thakran, member of Gurgaon Sabji Mandi Adhata (wholesale) Union, hinting at another strike.
However, officials from the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) denied that they promised to cancel the renovation work.
Officials said no promise to cancel the renovation plan was made. The government plans to make the area more accessible and this will benefit people, said the officials.
“We are unaware of any such promises made by any government official. The renovation is being done to make the market look more presentable. The government wants to provide proper sheds and platform to the vendors and make their functioning easier,” said an official from APMC.
Over 175 wholesale vendors sell more than 3,000 tonnes of fruits and vegetables at the market every day. The vendors had earlier protested the government’s plan by observing a five-day strike on September 3. The strike led to a sudden disruption of supply and there was a 300% hike in the prices of vegetables in the city.
Residents, meanwhile, expressed concerns over the prospect of another strike.
“We are worried after hearing about the possibility of another strike. I have decided to stock vegetables at home. Last time, there was a sudden rise the prices of vegetables, including kitchen staples such as onions and tomatoes,” said Rosy Singh of Sushant Lok.