Surat News : Abandoned Vegetable Markets Turns Into Dwelling Spot for Laborers

To address traffic congestion and provide a dedicated space for vegetable and fruit sellers, the Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) spent crores of rupees


SURAT, GUJARAT : The Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) constructed vegetable markets across various municipal zones to accommodate vegetable and fruit vendors and reduce road encroachment. However, several of these markets remain unused even after four years, turning into shelters for roadside dwellers and raising questions about municipal planning and vendor cooperation.

In an effort to address traffic congestion and provide a dedicated space for vegetable and fruit sellers, the Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) spent crores of rupees to build vegetable markets throughout the city. Despite these efforts, many of these markets lie deserted and neglected, becoming makeshift homes for the homeless and construction workers.

One such example is the vegetable market in the Simada area of Varachha Zone. Constructed on January 30, 2019, as part of a series of projects launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, this market was intended to relocate vendors from the crowded streets to a designated trading area. Unfortunately, the market remains unused, leading to pollution and persistent traffic problems as vendors continue to operate on public roads.

Residents are frustrated by the current state of these facilities. “The vegetable market built at Simada is supposed to alleviate traffic congestion and provide a cleaner, safer environment for both vendors and shoppers,” said Shailesh Vekariya, a resident in Simada. “Instead, it has turned into a dwelling spot for laborers and is not maintained, creating an unsanitary environment.”

The abandoned market has become a hotspot for anti-social activities, further deterring vendors from using the facility. “Although the municipality has built this market, it remains unused even after four years, and it is becoming increasingly dirty,” another resident continued. “If we could get the vendors to use this space, it would greatly reduce road congestion and provide a more organized marketplace.”

The reluctance of vendors to move to the new facilities stems from multiple factors, including a lack of awareness and possible logistical challenges. A local vendor explained, “We are used to selling our produce on the streets where there’s more foot traffic. Moving to a designated market might mean losing customers.”

In addition to the underutilization, the SMC faces criticism for not adequately promoting the benefits of the new markets to the vendors. “The municipal corporation needs to do more to encourage vendors to relocate,” said a concerned citizen. “This involves not just building the infrastructure but also educating the vendors on the advantages and providing necessary support for a smooth transition.”

The situation at Simada is not isolated. Similar conditions are reported in other zones, where markets built with significant investment remain underused. The deserted facilities have prompted questions about the effectiveness of SMC’s planning and the apparent disconnect between the corporation’s initiatives and the vendors’ needs.

“The goal was to create a structured, hygienic environment for selling produce, but the implementation has fallen short,” remarked another local resident. “There needs to be a concerted effort to bridge this gap and make these markets functional.”

As the SMC contemplates its next steps, the need for a comprehensive approach becomes clear. This includes cleaning and maintaining the existing markets, running awareness campaigns for vendors, and possibly offering incentives to encourage the shift from streets to designated market spaces.

“The pressure on public roads can be significantly reduced if these markets are utilized as intended,” the SMC official concluded. “It’s crucial to take proactive measures to ensure these facilities serve their purpose and improve the overall urban environment.”