Dearth of customers force fruit vendors to shut their shop in Fruit Market at Unit-2
Bhubaneswar: A three-storeyed building for an organised Fruit Market was opened on July 2022 at Unit-2 where 78 fruit vendors opened their shops.
However, within two months the fruit vendors shut their shops, and now most of the shutters at the building are down since October last year. Out of 78, only two shops are open.
Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) constructed the Fruit Market Building at the cost of around Rs 2 Crores. The building can accommodate 78 vendors with separate shops. The vendors were selected on a lottery basis in 2020. Each shop is 72 sq. feet (9×8) and vendors had to pay Rs 35 per sq. feet.
The building also has air-conditioned storage to prevent fruits from getting rotten.
Sixty-five-year-old Bhimsen Mohanty, a banana vendor is the only one continuing to sell his fruits. However, he is not sitting inside his stall, rather every day he sets up a bench with fruits near the entrance of the building with the hope to get customers.
“I have been selling fruits near Market Building since 1996. Earlier I used to sit under a tree and used to have a good business,” said Bhimsen.
However, now he struggles to sell his fruit. “We got the stall in the building on July 1, 2022. Most vendors opened their fruit shops here, but there was a dearth of customers. After two months most vendors shut their shops due to lack of business,” he said.
“I open my shop daily, but I hardly manage to sell anything. I want to sit in my old space but authorities don’t allow it,” he added.
Surender Kumar set up a juice shop in the building 8 months back but he is also facing the same problem. “There is no business. Most fruit vendors shut their shops in October. We have approached BMC to allow us to open a dry product shop instead of a fruit shop. BMC has not said anything yet.”