The first air-conditioned agro mall here has failed to lure entrepreneurs as well as farmers. The `80-crore mall spread over 5 acres of prime land opposite Maharishi Dayanand University on Delhi-Rohtak road was inaugurated by chief minister Bhupinder Singh on March14 this year.
The agro mall concept was set up in the state with the aim to extend direct interface to farmers with the consumers without any middleman. Farmers growing vegetable and horticulture products can either rent the shop on its premises or purchase it, where he can showcase his product the way he wants and sell it at a better price.
Despite state-of-the-art facilities at the agro mall, none of the farmers has shown interest in it, while majority of the commercial section is also lying vacant.
A senior agriculture officer told HT that well-off farmers had been keeping a distance from the mall due to its high rent price and mismatch of base price according to the local market.
The four-storey building has 282 shops, which farmers can use for commercial use.
Sources said that there was three to four times difference in base price and rental price of the shops. Secondly, some buyers of the shops had not been given possession yet, which is also putting the aspirants in doubt regarding the success of the mall.
State secretary, CPM, Inderjit Singh, who had been opposing the project from the beginning, said, “Without taking into account the backward and forward marketing linkages, the huge mall was constructed for extraneous reasons". He said that if state government really wanted success of the project, then the government should first work out on the modalities of how would farmers bring their produce up to the mall.
HSAMB superintending engineer Satinder Ruhil said that the department was in no hurry to sell all the shops. “Currently the market is sluggish, still the department could sell 87 shops,” he said. On the lack of interest from farmers' side, he said that since the idea was unique and launched for the first time, agrarians want to see it happening first.