Once a model mandi, Parimpora wholesale fruit market in shambles

Traders say encroachments, heaps of garbage affecting day-to-day business

Srinagar, Publish Date: Jun 23 2018 12:06AM | Updated Date: Jun 23 2018 12:06AM
Once a model mandi, Parimpora wholesale fruit market in shamblesFile Photo

Inaugurated by then Chief Minister Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah in 1982 with a vision of transforming it into a model mandi, Parimpora Fruit Marketing Complex located on the outskirts of Srinagar has been witnessing massive encroachments and heaps of garbage, which is adversely affecting the day-to-day business there.

Traders operating in the mandi complain that heaps of garbage is piling in the main wholesale fruit market of the city, while the concerned authorities are looking other way. These traders told Greater Kashmir that culmination of the season for fruits such as watermelon and melons offlate has resulted in heaps of fruit wastage waiting to be cleared.

“May to August is considered peak season of fresh fruits and maximum wastage of these commodities particularly melon and watermelon remains in the premises of this market. For last several days this is not being lifted resulting in foul smell causing inconvenience to the traders and people visiting the mandi,” said Bashir Ahmad Basheer, president of the Parimpora Mandi.   “All the four blocks at mandi including an auction shed is annually outsourced by the horticulture planning and marketing department every year. Ever since the present year contractor for sanitation work has joined, the clearing of garbage has become clumsy,” said Basheer.

The mandi which was taken over by the department from Srinagar Development Authority in 2009 has also been witnessing encroachments galore. Traders say the mandi has shrunk from 324 kanals in 1982 to less than 250 kanals at present as several illegal residential and commercial complexes have mushroomed inside the mandi. “The state government had promised to convert the mandi into a model mandi but almost 70 kanals have been illegally encroached since 1990’s. We have approached all concerned authorities to address the issue but to no avail,” said a trader.

At a time when the Srinagar Development Authority (SDA) is making high claims regarding organised development of the city, an approach road from Qamarwari to Parimpora fruit mandi, maintained by SDA, is dotted by motor mechanics causing inconvenience to fruit traders. Traders at the mandi said congestion caused by mechanics on the main entry road to the mandi has forced the traders to use the alternate bypass road for travelling to the mandi. “The truck terminal on the outer periphery of the mandi falls under SDA but it has been unable to keep a track of the mechanics who have now spread out on the main road. We had started taking the bypass route but there are encroachments on that side as well,” said Muhammad Saleem, a fruit merchant.  

When contacted, vice-chairman of SDA Abdul Majid Raina told Greater Kashmir that he recently paid a visit to the fruit mandi to assess the problems. "While the menace of encroachments has been raised in the past we will ensure that action is taken against such encroachers," Raina said.

The fruit and vegetable traders have earlier urged authorities to demarcate the mandi but their plea has also been turned down. “The mandi was a wetland on which work started from 1978 after funds were chipped in by fruit traders. Since last few years we have approached the Divisional Commissioner and the HPM department requesting them to demarcate the mandi. This would have helped to identify the illegal structures in and around the mandi,” said Ghulam Muhammad, a fruit merchant. The roads in the mandi are also an eyesore since no development work has been undertaken since the floods last year. “It was only after the visit of the horticulture minister that macdamisation of some roads was done. None of the yards have been macdamised so far,” he said.

Deputy director of horticulture, planning and marketing department, Manzoor Ahmad Mir said since the sanitation work is outsourced there was a dispute between traders and safai karamcharis which had put a halt to clearance of garbage for several days. “There was a dispute between the labourers and association but the department has intervened and sorted out the issue. We will ensure that all the rubble and garbage is cleared in next few days,” Mir said. “Action was taken against the head of safai karamcharis and a new manager is at the helm of affairs.” 

When asked about the large-scale encroachments at the mandi, Mir said all the illegal constructions within the premises of the mandi are prior to that of 2009 when it was handed over to the HPM from SDA.  

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