The Kotkapura grain market is beset with a host of problems on the infrastructure front. Built in the 1980s, the structure and building is unable to drain rainwater completely, the roads are potholed and stray animals and thieves are a major concern and worry for farmers as well as commission agents.
In case of heavy rain, water from the raised platforms rushes on to the main roads of the grain market and spoils the produce of the farmers. Water also stagnates due to the lack of a proper drainage system.
"Sewerage system to carry waste water from shops on the premises of grain market does exist, but remains blocked at some places. Hence, water stagnates as it flows down the raised platforms and is dried up only by the sun," said Ashok Kumar Goyal, general secretary, Kotkapura Arhytiya Association.
Broken boundary wall
The boundary wall along the Bathinda and Moga road that jutt the grain market has been broken at various places by vested interests like transporters, shopkeepers and jhuggi dwellers. "Iron grills orginally put up on the wall are also missing," said a source.
With the broken wall, the passage of stray animals and petty thieves is easy and farmers live in dread of losing their produce to both.
"We have be on alert at all times and cannot even sleep peacefully, espeically during procurement season," said a farmer, who has to visit the market each season.
"Encroachment is also a problem. As soon as the contract for removing paddy or wheat husk is given, contractors encourage slum dwellers to set up tents inside the grain market. This is due to a peculiar rule that if the degraded paddy is cleaned outside on private plots, the contractor has to buy the produce, but if they clean paddy or wheat inside, the contractor can lift the husk as per contract," claimed another source. Commission agents also complain of the poor hygiene.
"People tend to derive money from the sale of paddy husk, but the left-over husk is never lifted from the grain market," a commision agent said.Parking of trucks and long trailers on the main section of the entry road from the Bathinda Road leads to traffic jams in the city and lots of inconvenience to the common people.
The fund crunch
The Mandi board is reportedly planning to sell land in the grain market along the Moga and Bathinda Road as shop-cum-flats to generate revenue to improve the condition of grain market.
"I am aware of the problem of the boundary wall and the poor drainage of rain water. The boundary wall needs `25 lakh and we need another Rs 2 crore to connect the grain market sewerage to the main sewerage. Work will start as soon as the funds are allotted," said
Makkhan Singh Jalal, secretary, Kotkapura Market Committee.