Two decades after earmarking land in Sector 39 for a fruit and vegetable market, the UT administration has finally decided to get the market going.
On Thursday, UT administrator Banwarilal Purohit approved the auction of 92 shop-cum-offices (SCOs) at the market on freehold basis.
The market was planned in 2002 to decongest the Sector-26 grain market, where there is no more room for expansion.
With the nod in, the Chandigarh State Agricultural Marketing Board will now put up the SCOs for open auction as per the Chandigarh Estate Rules, 2007.
Preference will be given to existing licensees at the Sector-26 market. Of the around 170 licensees there, 30 deal in grains and the rest in fruits and vegetables.
After allotment of shops at the Sector-39 market, de-notification of the Sector 26 market will be done in a phased manner.
According to a senior UT officer, the auction will be completed within two months and the market will most likely be operational by March next year.
Land was acquired in 1990
The administration had acquired 75 acres in Sector 39 in 1990 and earmarked the land for the vegetable market in 2002.
The UT official said the shifting of the market from Sector 26 was delayed, as the administration was awaiting permission from the Union ministry of home affairs (MHA) for adopting the process of space allotment at the new site.
Earlier, construction work was stopped in 2015 due to paucity of funds. In August 2015, the Punjab and Haryana high court had asked the administration to start the functioning of the market. In response, the administration had assured the court that the market will be operational by March 31, 2016, but for six years, the matter continued to hang fire.
Meanwhile, Brij Mohan, president of Sabzi Mandi Arhtiya Association, Sector 26, said they will oppose the auction of the SCOs under the Chandigarh Estate Rules, as the administration should allot the sites according to the Punjab State Agricultural Marketing Board (Sale and Transfer of Plots) Rules, 1961.
He added that as the process to shift the Sector 26 market to Sector 39 was started in 2007, the sites should be allotted at reserve prices calculated on the basis of the land cost then, instead of the land’s current market value.