| The Unit-1 market is the largest and oldest vegetable market in Bhubaneswar. Picture by Sanjib Mukherjee |
Bhubaneswar, Sept. 13: A combination of muck, slush and horrible smell greets buyers at the Unit-I wholesale vegetable market. Heavy rain over the past few days has worsened the situation.
“I usually come to the Unit-1 market for fresh vegetables. But during rainy days, I prefer not to come here as the entire market resembles a BMC garbage disposal site. The muddy lanes and the foul odour from decaying vegetable peels strewn everywhere are unbearable,” said Rabi Narayan, a local resident.
Even the vendors are unhappy with the conditions prevailing in the market. Adding to their woes is the apathy of the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC), which maintains the market. They feel the civic body has turned a blind eye towards the unhygenic conditions.
“We pay tax to the BMC for maintaining the market. But they are not cleaning the area regularly and we have to bear this,” said Basant Swain, a vegetable vendor, pointing towards a heap of rotten vegetables. The Unit-1 market is the largest and oldest vegetable market in Bhubaneswar. It houses more than 1,500 vendors. Apart from this, there are about 1,300 other vendors who depend on this market for survival. Most of them are wholesalers.
“The BMC collects Rs 2 as tax every day from each vendor. The aggregate comes nearly Rs 2 lakh a month and more than Rs 20 lakh a year. But, the service provided by the BMC is much below the desired level,” said Kabiraj Swain, secretary of Kancha Pariba Mahajan Sangha, that represents the vegetable vendors. “Our association has complained many times to the BMC. Though the corporation’s vehicles clear the garbage, the service is not adequate. Garbage should be cleaned at night because we start our business very early,” said Swain.
Although the BMC is in charge of managing the market, it has outsourced the cleaning work to a private agency.
“The cleaning of the market is carried out by a private agency. We will ask the agency to take up the garbage cleaning regularly and with right earnest,” said Mayor Ananta Narayan Jena.