Vegetable growers from Mangalore and Bantwal taluks, a majority of them women, who sell their produce at Central Market in the city, have been seeking a market exclusively for them for more than a decade.

Dozens of women from Thokkottu and Neermarga, and from Bantwal taluk arrive at the market at 4 a.m. and sell vegetables to wholesale traders and the people till 10 a.m. Years ago, they had their own place in the central area of the market, but were pushed out gradually by other traders, they said.

Now, they sell their produce on the pavement in front of the market, braving the unrelenting monsoon and the blazing sun later. Many of them grow vegetables and those who do not have land, sell the produce of their neighbours, said Mary Machado, who owns land at Neermarga. She has been selling vegetables for a decade.

Ida D'Souza brings vegetables grown by others as her land is waterlogged during monsoon. She grows vegetables after the monsoon. She and several other women have been seeking space inside the market which would enable them to do business comfortably.

Ms. Machado said that they would make more profits if they sold vegetables directly to the people. One bunch of “padpe” (maroon-purple leaf) would fetch them Rs. 5 from wholesale traders inside the market. If they sold it to people, they would get Rs. 10.

Appoline Gomes showed a corridor inside the market building which had been given to them by the city corporation.

She said they refused to go there as it could accommodate only about 30 people.

Commissioner of the Mangalore City Corporation K.N. Vijay Prakash said that the matter had been discussed at the corporation council meeting. Some space had been allotted to them, but was not being utilised as it would affect their business.

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