Islamabad - The fruit and vegetable market of the federal capital has a plethora of problems and is gradually turning into a health hazardous place.
Pollutant and filthy environment with numerous problems in and around the market is seeking prompt attention of the civic body in order to ensure provision of safe and healthy food items to the residents. Currently, rotten fruits and vegetables are thrown on ground causing bad odour. Mushtaq Ahmed, a vendor at the market told APP that there is no proper waste management system which is making environment unhygienic.
Patron-in-Chief Islamabad Fruit and Vegetable Market , Muhammad Arshad said waste and disgusting odour welcome customers at the market whereas encroachments and illegal stalls in the premises have further worsened the situation.
Arshad further said that the legal stallholders had to pay a lot more, though there were numerous illegal stalls. He demanded the authorities to take action against the responsible official.
The president of Fruit Mandi Traders Welfare Association said this is one of the leading fruit and vegetable markets but there is no proper mechanism to look after the venue. “The encroachers have made things difficult here by extending their shops and stalls on footpaths meant for pedestrians,” a customer Azam Khan added.
Mohsin Khan, a shopkeeper said that the market deals in both retail and wholesale, and customers come in large number even from remote areas but there is no drinking water in the market . Khan said the development funds should be spent in all sectors without any discrimination. “Fruit and vegetable sellers pay a huge amount in the name of taxes,” he added.
Another fruit and vegetable merchant, Naseer Abbasi said that no attention has been paid to resolve problems. “Whenever it rains, we have to face a tough time,” he added. “There is no proper shelter, and we use polythene sheets to cover fruit and vegetable stock.” The roads adjacent to this market are in pathetic condition as the market accommodates heavy traffic for goods transport, said a truck driver Abdul Razaq who brings vegetables to the market from Haripur district.
“Roads here require urgent attention of the authorities to avoid their further deterioration,” he added. Another driver Rafeeq also complained for insufficient parking area for the vehicles and asked for the availability of secure and reserved parking for the goods transporters and visitors who come to shop here. Saqib Kiani, a customer at the market complained for absence of official price lists in the market as the shopkeepers were charging the prices set by themselves.
When contacted, a senior CDA official seeking anonymity said the civic body had deployed an officer at ‘Sabzi Mandi’ to keep a vigil on affairs of the market . He pointed out that the fruit and vegetable market is situated at such a place where cleanliness cannot be maintained round the clock. “The roads of the capital were being carpeted and rehabilitated”, he added.
The official said all the administrative issues of the market like security etc fall under the jurisdiction of Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT).