Srinagar: The city amid COVID-19 lockdown and frequent disruption of national highway has only one lifeline for fresh vegetables that is in the interiors of Dal Lake. Vegetable vendors from different parts of Dal Lake start their day at the crack of dawn. Around 60-70 boats gather at a point in the Dal-Lake, locally known as “Gudder” and start trading vegetables across the City.
Pre-dawn vegetable market remains open only for a couple of hours as dozens of boats come laden with fresh vegetables from the gardens of Dal Lake and sell it to the wholesale markets and also in the barter system. Under the barter system many merchants come with other eatables like, potato, onion, dry ration and instead of money take along these fresh vegetables.
Floating vegetable market never stops serving people even in tough times like lockdown and coronavirus. The market acts as lifeline for the people of Srinagar city.
Merchants from all over Srinagar reach the interior waters of Dal Lake via interior locality of Rainawari keeping the supply chain of vegetable open. All of them try to come as early as possible as police and paramilitary forces allow people to fetch milk, bread and vegetables only for few hours. For rest of the day all such shops remain closed.
Early in the morning local vendors from all over Srinagar reach the vegetable market either on foot or by boats due to the lockdown. Many vendors have to trek back on foot to their respective localities, where they have the customers waiting for them to collect their vegetable
“We mostly sell what we cultivate,” says Abdul Majid.
Floating vegetable market is a very old system in the interior of Dal Lake. The sale takes place between 5 AM to 7 am every day.
Around 1250 acre of land along the Dal Lake is being used for the cultivation of vegetables.