Earnings of a majority of traders take a hit after the launch of rythu bazaar

Thanks to the rythu bazaar, the nine-decade-old wholesale vegetable market here has lost its sheen and glory. With the usual hustle and bustle conspicuously missing, it looks quite insipid. Hardly 30 traders are left fervently looking for customers.

The traders attribute the gloomy scenario to the launch of rythu bazaar in the town. Most of the vegetable vendors are now jobless. Some took to other professions such as electrician, pushcart vegetable vendor. Some others have become hamalies to eke out their livelihood, they say.

“We are not opposed to the concept of rythu bazaar to provide a platform to farmers. Barring a handful of farmers, the rythu bazaar is now full of middlemen,” they assert. In fact, the traders say, they (vendors at rythu bazaar) purchase leafy vegetables here.

The market imports leafy vegetables such as coriander from Karnataka. Except in winter, coriander is not grown in Krishna district. But, throughout the year, we find a coriander farmer at rythu bazaar. Needless to say, we are the source to his or her vegetables, the traders claim.

A. Nagendra Rao, a third generation trader in the market, recalls:

“There used to be 150 to 200 shops a decade ago. As days passed, the traders left the market in search of other jobs as the business has lost its sheen. There were days when we used to employ two to four workers. Now, the owner himself does not have enough work.”

Adds Sasha, another trader: “There used to be retail customers also. Traders are solely dependent on wholesale business. The market is not providing employment to even to 100 persons now. God knows how many days it will continue like this.”

Auction

In the good olden days, the traders used to go for an auction every week under the aegis of the Radhakrishna Vegetable Traders' Association. The association used to spend the proceeds of the auction on welfare of the members and also to organise festivals such as Vinayaka Chavithi, Dhanurmasam, and Ramzan.

Sasha says his neighbours Samudrala Saibabu and Sunkara Satyanaryaana switched to other jobs. Saibabu and his brothers are electricians and Satyanarayana started another business, he says.