Sellers and buyers in Kalaburagi’s main market stand in ankle-high mud and use torchlight to do business
The withdrawal of COVID-19 lockdown might have helped many people to resume their survival economic activities, but it has worsened the lives of vegetable growers and sellers in Kalaburagi. For, the wholesale vegetable market which functioned at a relatively clean and neatly developed layout on the outskirts of the city during the lockdown was shifted back to what was locally known as Kanni Market near Central Bus Stand. The new market placeresembles a muddy field prepared for paddy transplantation.
Over a thousand farmers from nearby villages bring their vegetables to this wholesale market every evening. An equal number of vegetable vendors, mostly women, gather here to purchase them. Both sellers and buyers transact their business standing in the ankle-high mud.
With no arrangements to stack the vegetables, the farmers put the vegetable bundles, bags and crates in the mud. The vegetables often slip from their hands and fall in the mud. The vendors carefully pick them from the mud, clean them at their respective houses in the night and sell the same vegetables in push-carts next morning in the residential localities of Kalaburagi. There have been several instances of people slipping and falling on the slippery ground and getting injured. Yet, nobody from the administration has ever bothered to look into it.
The market commences at 4 p.m. and continues till 11 p.m. every day except on Saturdays. The authorities never bothered to make lighting arrangements, let alone shifting the market to some better and safer place. The vendors tie torchlight or mobile phones with the torch switched on around their necks and carefully move in the dark on the muddy ground. They use the torches to shed some light on the vegetables and examine them before buying. The whole market blinks with the torches and mobile lights in the night. The streetlights on the road are of no use to the market.
Thousands of vehicles – four-wheelers, two-wheelers, three-wheelers and push-carts – are brought to the place by farmers and the vendors. They are chaotically parked along the roadside that often leads to traffic jams. The frictions and petty quarrels among the people over the parking issues are very common. But, no traffic police personnel is seen to ensure proper parking and control the traffic jams.
For the last few days, one more problem has cropped up: the accumulation of garbage in the muddy ground. With the incessant rains lashing the region for the last one week, the garbage generated in the market is simply left behind to rot. Now, the whole market stinks.
“We came to know that a novel coronavirus originated from a vet market in China and spread to the whole world. I don’t know what disease will emerge from Kalaburagi market if the market continues to function the way it is now,” a farmer who bought loads of tomato from a nearby village told The Hindu.