Vegetables, fruits rot as strike shuts downs Kalimati market
KATHMANDU, May 21: As protestors barred vendors at Kalimati Vegetables Market from selling the produces they receive during the early morning hours, most of the vegetables that entered the market over the last two days have either rotten or perished, inlficting huge loss to traders.
The wholesalers in the market had received around 500 tons of vegetables from Dhading and other adjoining districts on Sunday as well as Monday.
Though the quantity of vegetables were down compared to any normal day, which stands at around 900 tons a day, traders said almost all the vegetables they received since Sunday have perished as they were not allowed to conduct business.
Kalimati is the main collection center of vegetables and wholesalers operating there supply the produces to retailers across the Kathmandu Valley to fulfill the regular vegetable demand. "But banda enforces did not allow us to sell vegetables since Sunday. As a result, the vegetables are decaying in the truck itself,” said Bharat Khatiwada, president of Kalimati Vegetable Market Traders Association.
“We opened the market from 3 am to 5 pm, but as the protestor did not allow any vehicles to operate after 5 there were no sales at all,” said Khatiwada.
Earlier, the vegetable market used to open even during strikes. Banda enforces used to allow the market to operate regarding vegetables as important essential commodities and small traders used to sell in it carts due to which the sales were not much affected. “But since yesterday we are not allowed to open the market due to which we had to bear loss worth millions of rupee as vegetables perish faster in summer," said Khatiwada.
Retailers, on the other hand, jacked up the prices of vegetables citing banda and problems they faced in transporting the goods. “We need to bring vegetables in taxi and that adds cost. Besides, we need to go to Kalimati early in the morning to get the supply. Hence, I have not brought vegetables in my store during this strike,” said Damodar Jejju of Damodar Store at Tinkune.
Similarly, fruits worth millions of rupee have decayed due to continuous strike. “Fruits imported from Terai and India has decayed as the market is closed,” Narayan Dhital, president of Fruits Wholesaler´s Association echoed Khatiwada.
Dhital informed that as the traders had to bear huge losses, the association was planning to increase the price of the fruits by as much as 40 percent as soon as the market opens to recover the losses.
Demand for fruits in the local market is not fulfilled by the domestic consumption and are imported from India, Thailand, China, Pakistan and European countries.