The Centenary Farmer’s Market (CFM) or the Sunday vegetable market in Thimphu is a hubbub of people – the buyers, the vegetable vendors, children in the locality and children who have tagged along with their parents, and even the dogs that roam the vicinity rustling in the dumpsite, add to the hustle and bustle of things.
It may seem like the whole establishment is a free-for-all venue, with no rules in place, other than that of exchange of goods for money.
However, beneath all the commotion in the CFM, there are stern rules set by the municipality.
The staff at Thimphu thromde said certain rules and regulation are set in the place for smooth functioning of the CFM. They said, otherwise the people will not care since it’s a government property. They also said that if they don’t monitor things then the vendors dispose off their wastes anywhere and everywhere making the place filthy and unpleasant to be in. The officials have to, therefore, monitor the place very strictly and take action against the vendors who break the rules.
Some of the vegetable vendors told this paper that the rules and regulation are a must everywhere, be it in public place or any other places.
A vendor Tshering Dorji said people don’t know, until and unless, they are told what should be done and what should not be done. Some people are so stubborn that even after being briefed time and again they kept repeating the same mistake.
“Paying fine in the form of some amount causes them pain, and it’s the best solution to make people obey the rules,” he added.
Tshering Dorji said that the idea of displaying price tags was good, in order to create uniformity. It made the work of vendors easier as customers didn’t have to ask the price for each and every item.
“Otherwise, it is quite tiring for the dealers to say the price of each and every item, and if the customers take those things it is okay, if they don’t then it’s so frustrating,” Tshering Dorji added.
Like Tshering, most vendors are happy about certain rules being put in place. They say they don’t want their place to look like it did before 2008.
Some vendors, however, are not too fond of certain rules. They feel that it is possible to maintain cleanliness on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays as there is not much customers rushing in. But on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays it is impossible for them to handle the customers, and at the same time oversee the cleanliness of their surroundings and check on how neatly the sale items are displayed.
They also said that rules are a welcome addition, but the penalties that follows are not.
For instance, vegetable vendors said that it is compulsory to put the price tag on their vegetables and fruits, otherwise a fine of Nu. 500 is imposed. The vendors are also made to pay a fine of Nu. 500 if they don’t leave the place before 8 pm. The vendors also said that if their respective market area is dirty then they have to pay a fine of Nu. 500 again.