Hyderabad needs 50 Rythu Bazaars; it now has only 11

Hyderabad: People in Hyderabad love to buy their vegetables and other grocery items from Rythu Bazaars because they are sold there at competitive prices. But it has only 11 against the requirement of 50.

The grossly low number of Rythu Bazaars are forcing people to travel long distances to buy their daily requirement of vegetables.

To begin with, a GHMC official said on the condition of anonymity, there should be at least one Rythu Bazaar for each assembly constituency in the city which can slowly be doubled.

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The Rythu Bazaarswere set up in 1999 keeping in mind the population at that time and left scope for growth. Thought the city population has grown leaps and bounds number ofBazaars have remained the same. The first Rythu Bazaar wasset up when the population ofgreater Hyderabad was only 40 lakhbut now it has crossed 1 crore.

The Agriculture Marketing Department has expressed inability to set up new Rythu Bazars citing paucity of space as an insurmountable problem. It says that a Bazaar requires at least an acre to accommodate necessary number of stalls.

As per the National Institution of Nutrition (NIN) recommendations, the per capita intake of vegetables and fruits should be between 300 gm and 100 gm.

Accordingly, on a daily basis the city needs 3,000 tonnes of vegetables. In fact, the recommendation is that there should be one Rythu Bazaar for every 10,000 population.

In the meantime, the GHMC’s proposal to set up model markets in the city is yet to take off. Rythu Bazaars themselves require a change and more regulations for their smooth functioning.

The farmers, in this digital era, use old-world scales here. At some markets, traders even cheat the public by under-weighing. There are variations in prices written on blackboard at the Rythu Bazaars and the sale price of vegetables. It has been alleged that consumers who visit the Bazaars often complain about farmers overcharging for their produce. Buyers also object to the practice of not selling quantities less than half kilogram, citing reasons as unimportant as non-availability of a 250 gm counter weight. Besides, middlemen exercise authority over farmers at the Rythu Bazaars.

Each Rythu Bazaar has about 250 shops. Each Rythu Bazaar on regular days sells 1,500–2,000 quintals grocery. On the other hand, the Bazaars at Saroonnagar and Mehdipatnam sell at least 3,500 quintals a day.

On an average about 10,000 customers visit a Rythu Bazaar daily buying Rs 15–20 lakh worth of vegetables.

On Sundays, the footfall increases to 25,000. The trade volume also goes up to Rs 50 lakh. The sales are carried out by middlemen in the name of farmers. In spite of such high volume of trade, nobody allegedly pays commercial tax here.

Marketing Department Director, Lakshmi Bai, suggested at increasing the ‘Mana Kuragayalu (Our Vegetable)’ stalls across the city to meet the needs of the people.

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