Marketplace mismanagement hits farmers in JanakpurThe market has been in disarray since the dissolution of the market management committee.
The vegetable marketplace at the Janakpur Railway Station is popular for fresh, inexpensive and organic produce delivered directly by the farmers. Lately, however, it has been mired with controversy. Farmers allege that while they struggle to find a place to set up their stalls, retailers establish multiple of them.
“Let’s say if we set up a stall in one spot today, tomorrow it will be occupied by someone else,” said a farmer from Katarait village, which lies four km east to the railway station. “Because of this, customers are buying produce at a higher cost, because the retailers charge more money than the farmers.”
Sanjay Kumar Gupta, who lives nearby the station, said the allegations made by the farmers are true, adding that the market has been in disarray since the dissolution of the market management committee. “About a dozen retailers have captured the market. They buy the produce from the farmers at low prices and sell at marked up prices,” said Gupta. “When they capture the spots, innocuous farmers are compelled to move their stalls every day.”
Some of these vendors have even built permanent stalls, narrowing the marketplace, much to the farmers’ woes, Gupta said.
The space where the vegetable market is set up belongs to the Janakpur Railway and has been in operation for the past three decades. Lately, the Mahavir Temple management committee had taken charge of the vegetable market.
Last year, the management committee made Rs850,000 in rents. According to an agreement between the railway authority and the management committee, 70 percent of the amount would go to the former while the rest would be used for the cleanliness and maintenance of the space, said Rajendra Sah, chief of the committee.
But in May last year, Janakpur Sub-metropolis wrote a letter addressing the management committee, asking it to hand over the space’s administration to the metropolis. “It is after that the market’s operation has gone haywire,” said Sah.
Meanwhile, some locals have even gone as far as to allege the sub-metropolis of siding with retailers in ostracising the farmers.
“I go to the market every day but the space previously occupied by the farmers is increasingly being encroached by retailers, who sell the produce at a high price,” said Sangeeta Devi, a local of Shivapath in Janakpur. “We are duped every day.”