Established in 1988 on 372 kanal of horticulture land, Soporemandi, considered one of the largest fruit markets across India, remains underdeveloped and lacks basic facilities due to official neglect, traders and fruit growers here said.
Even after 30 years of its establishment, only 50 kanal out of allotted 372 kanal have been developed for the mandi so far. President of Mustafa Memorial Fruit MandiSoporeFayaz Ahmad Malik said that when the mandi was established Rs 38 crore were released for its development but till date, only Rs 15crore – Rs 16 crore have been spent for its development over the past 30 years.
"Unfortunately the successive regimes have failed to develop it to equip this with modern facilities and develop the fruit mandi. The height is that we don't even have potable drinking water facility here not to talk about other facilities," Fayaz said.
"There are only 15 auction sheds in the mandi despite requirement of additional 50 auction sheds due to the increasing rush of traders from within and outside the state.
He said that the mandi lacks even basic facilities which a fruit mandi should have to carry out normal business. "Around 30, 000 people including traders, fruits growers, drivers, customers and people associated with other businesses in the mandi work here on a daily basis but they don't have potable water to drink," he said.
Around 400 to 500 truckloads of fruit are exported from the mandi on a daily basis. "People associated with fruit business from different parts of the country and even people from Bangladesh and Nepal carry out their business here. But the authorities have failed to develop the mandi on modern lines," said a fruit grower, Muhammad Ashraf.
The traders and fruit growers said that the mandi doesn't even have a cold storage unit, in the absence of which, they have to sell their produce at a much cheaper rate. "We are forced to sell our produce at cheaper rates much below the market price as we don't have any facility in the mandi to keep our produce stored and prevent it from getting rotten," said another fruit trader operating in the mandi.
Fayaz said that in 2013 an additional 97 kanals of land was procured for a separate truck yard so that the rush inside the mandi is minimized due to the space crunch. "But till date, the authorities have failed to initiate work on the additional land procured for the truck yard. The land is lying idle as neither the road has been constructed for it nor any other work has been initiated yet," he said.
He said that due to the absence of a separate truck yard they have to park the trucks inside the mandi which already has insufficient space and ultimately leads to traffic jams for hours together. "If the road is made through for this separate truck yard, the increasing rush inside the mandi would get minimised. The separate truck yard would give additional space to traders to carry out their business inside the mandi," he said.
Director horticulture planning and marketing, Syed ShahnawazBukhari, said the department is working on developing the mandi. "A number of steps have been taken for its development. And we have further plans to make it better," he said.