K.N. Murali Sankar
Ramshackle stalls have electrical wires threatening to snap any time
VIJAYAWADA: Lack of basic facilities at the Rythu Bazaar located on the Swaraj Maidan (PWD Grounds) is a major irritant to buyers and sellers alike.
Ramshackle stalls with breached floorings, electrical wires that threaten to snap any time and haphazardly laid drainage pipelines welcome buyers to one of the biggest Rythu Bazaars in the State, which registers a turnover of Rs. 10 lakhs per day.
Spread over 1.32 acres in the heart of the city, the market has 432 stalls in all. Over 15,000 people visit the place to buy vegetables, rice, oils, pulses, eggs, fruits, milk and its by-products.
In fact, among all the 13 Rythu Bazaars in Krishna district, this one occupies an important place in the officials' scheme of things. For, it fetches them high revenue in terms of rent from canteen, bicycle stand and a few stalls that were let out to organisations like Vijayakrishna Supermarket and Vijaya Dairy.
But the facilities are clearly not commensurate with the revenue generated here. Barring some minor works, no major repairs have been carried out to the market in the last six years.
"Look at the Rythu Bazaar at Kedareswarapet. The stalls there are at a height of three feet and it is convenient to pick up vegetables from the pile comfortably," says P. Raghava Rao, a resident of Governorpet and a regular buyer at the Swaraj Maidan Rythu Bazaar.
He says the buyers at PWD Grounds have to squat on the ground to pick up vegetables spread there.
"Both the roof and flooring are untidy. Permanent structures are badly needed," says N. Ramalakshmi of Kankipadu, who sells cauliflower here.
But receiving complaints from buyers and sellers on lack of facilities has become a matter of daily routine for the staff manning the Bazaar. "There are complaints about frequent snapping of electric wires. Drainage problem is less pronounced now as compared to rainy season," says Estate Officer B. Tilak Varma.
The Marketing Department, on its part, had sent a proposal to the district administration seeking repairs to the stalls and to improve the facilities at a cot of Rs. 8 lakhs.
"Fund crunch is a major problem for taking up repairs. Though the Bazaar registers a net revenue of Rs. 1.5 lakhs per month, we are forced to spend all of it on payment of salaries to staff working in different Rythu Bazaars across the district," says Joint Collector S. Suresh Kumar.
Another major hurdle for improving the facilities here is ownership of the land.
As the Marketing Department had taken the land on lease from the Irrigation Department, it is unable to take up any permanent constructions. Unlike the Vijayawada Municipal Corporation that let out the land at Kedareswarapet for raising permanent structures, the Irrigation Department is said to be reluctant to allow the Marketing Department to raise permanent structures at Swaraj Maidan. But Mr. Suresh Kumar promises to improve the facilities at the Bazaar in a phased manner.