BANGALORE: Despite the widespread demand for fresh groceries in Madiwala Market, the hygiene as well as the disposal of fruit and vegetable waste here is somewhat abominable. To begin with, the market place causes the usual traffic jams on the main road, making the area very crowded.
Accidents are frequent and even the approach road to the market is usually blocked. The leftover groceries and flowers are merely dumped on the pathways of the market, leaving it to rot and stagnate. This has also led to numerous houseflies and other insects hovering over the marketplace all the time, causing discomfort to people.
The added problem of pollution in this crowded area, further aggravates the problems in the market. The loading and unloading of the groceries takes place every night and the market begins by five in the morning. With much of the business happening in the morning, the best and the fresh ones sell off really fast, leaving the decayed ones for the evening sale.
Sunday, being the day for heavy business, sets of the mood for both the buyers and sellers alike. The sellers have their own woes. 99 per cent of the customers bargain until they get their desired rates, leaving the vendors to fight for their living. Sameer, an onion vendor in the market, was least pleased with the way people scorn at him when it comes to payment. On the other hand, Banu, who has a her own space for selling tomatoes, said, “I have been working here for 25 years. I get a lot of happy customers everyday.”
Nevertheless, this market offers a perfect Indian shopping experience. The people living in and around this area, prefer the market over the supermarket that is situated a few meters away. One of the regular customers said, “I come here often as I find everything I need here. The greens aren’t that great, but the rest is really fresh.”
One of the policemen manning the area gave his views on the safety of the market and its goods. “There are people here all the time, either loading and unloading, or buying and selling. Nothing ever gets stolen at any point of time.” Prabhakar, another vendor, commented, “The tarpaulin sheets on top protect the vegetables from the sun. There is absolutely no question about the quality of things sold here. It is the best.”
Accessibility to this area is least of the struggles. Buses are readily available from any nook and corner of Bangalore, to this bustling market centre. “There are 250 vendors here. We see around 5000 customers everyday who come from many places,” said Chitra, who has been a vendor in the market for over 11 years.
With better cleanliness and organisation of the market, this area can become a hotspot for groceries and even flowers. Setting up better stalls and platforms for the vendors will ensure satisfaction for both the buyers and sellers, who would have to bother less about picking up vegetables and fruits, every time from the ground. Garbage disposal, its segregation and other hygienic concerns, is another key area that has to be looked into.