It is after three years that state agricultural marketing board has woken up to appoint a consultant to set the construction of the UT’s second grain, fruits and vegetables market in Sector 39 (west) in motion. The project was stalled in 2015 due to lack of funds and had created strong resentment among traders and farmers.
UT administration agriculture secretary AK Sinha said, “We will be appointing the consultant in the coming week, who will then prepare a detailed project report (DPR).”
“After validating the report, we will apply for a loan from financial institutions offering lower rate of interest. We will hopefully resume the work in the next four months,” he added.
The state agricultural marketing board has already floated a tender to hire a consultant for the project, bid for which will be opened on March 22.
The Punjab and Haryana High Court had in 2015 passed orders and asked the administration to make the market operational. Even the UT administration had in its affidavit assured that the market will be made functional by March 31, 2016.
The Chandigarh administration had six months ago also given nod to the state agricultural marketing board to secure a loan of ₹100 crore from the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), but it could not get materialised due to non-availability of a DPR.
During a visit to the market, only a shed and five toilet blocks were found to be in place that were purportedly set up after the HC’s 2015 orders. However, neither a road has been laid nor the work to provide the basic amenities started.
In the plan approved for the project worth ₹300 crore, the construction of a market committee office, kisan seva kendra, a cold storage and office block for commission agents was also proposed.
UT administration had acquired 75 acres of land in 1990, construction work on which began in 1996. The work was later brought to a halt, but had resumed in 2015. However, it was again stalled after a few months.
The administration has even failed to formulate any allotment policy for the shops lying vacant for the past several years.
Sabzi Mandi Arhatiya Association president Dig Vijay Kapoor said, “It seems the UT administration is not interested in this project. Even the traders and farmers are feeling cheated.”
“Why did they moot the project, when they were not having sufficient funds?” Kapoor questioned.