Vendors jostle for space at Kothapet fruit market

Vendors jostle for space at Kothapet fruit market

 Kothapet: It is a case of too many. The Kothapet fruit market can no longer accommodate vendors but with each passing day, a new vendor is added. The market that started with 97 licensed shops is now bursting at the seams.
 “There are more than 150 vendors without the licence, selling in the market. During peak days of the season, there is no place to even walk” says Abidi, an agent in the Fruit Commission Association at Kothapet market.

Officials are accused of not complying with rules of bidding and registration, and providing more than one shop to one licensed individual. They are also reportedly not confirming to the court order by renewing licences of eligible owners. 

“Back in 1996, the officers did not allow six vendors to get licences due to lack of space and the same officers issues more than 100 licences in 2017-18. Officers who once claimed that there was no space in the market are handing over licences to anyone and everyone who has money. I can show you many such examples of vendors who have paid the officers sums of around four lakhs and secured licences,” alleges the president of the association, Ashok Kumar, who also owns a shop in the market.

Despite filing petition against shop owners who occupy more than one shop, nothing has been done in the case of those operating more than one shop. Renewal of shop licences as per criteria laid down by courts was supposed to have been done within 10 days after a court order in March last year, but the officers have failed to implement the orders. Bid registration for sellers and purchasers is mandatory under the law, but the market officers are not ensuring the same. 

As a result, vendors awaiting licences are not only fighting with one other for more space, but also intrude into the spaces of the licensed shops. 
The association took the matter to the notice of former Minister of Irrigation, Marketing and Legislative Affairs, T Harish Rao, Chief Secretary and even Chief Minister, but is yet to hear any word from authorities. 

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