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WEEKLY MARKETS Stocking Up Fresh Veggies

A weekly market, an integral part of many cultures worldwide, is a bustling hub of activity that brings together a wide range of goods and services. These markets, brimming with life and diversity, offer a unique insight into the local culture and economy, demonstrating the dynamics of supply and demand in real-time. The Municipal Corporation of Delhi has been relentlessly carrying out its efforts of clearing unauthorised commercial structures all over Delhi. The MCD has come down heavily on weekly markets too.

Earlier in Dwarka there were many weekly markets but now there are only few. A major weekly market is put up in Sector-6 near MDH school every Tuesday. The weekly market scene is a riot of colors, sounds, and smells. From the vibrant hues of fresh vegetables and fruits to the cacophony of vendors advertising their wares, the market is a sensory overload. The air is filled with the aroma of spices, fresh fruits, and sometimes even the tantalizing scent of roasted grains and biscuits. It’s a place where people from all walks of life converge, adding to the market’s lively and inclusive atmosphere. Says Era Kotnala who comes here from Sector-10 to shop for fresh vegetables every Tuesday, “The vegetables and fruits here are fresh and quite reasonable. I buy veggies for whole week and stock up my fridge.” One of the most distinctive features of a weekly market is the atmosphere of interaction and negotiation. Unlike the impersonal transactions in supermarkets, the weekly market provides a platform for buyers and sellers to engage in a dialogue. This engagement creates a sense of community, fostering relationships between traders and customers. The art of negotiation is also a vital part of the weekly market scene. It is a skill that is honed over time, adding a unique and exciting dimension to the shopping experience. Another weekly market is put up on Saturdays at Sector-22. This weekly market is also very much liked by residents. Gayatri Sathyan, a housewife in Sector-22 opines, “At Dwarka, the distances are such that we cannot easily go to the main markets for each and every small item. The weekly markets come in very handy as we can pick up daily essentials at one place.” The residents of Dwarka have to invariably fall back on the weekly markets for their supply of fresh vegetables. A lot of variety is available and prices are very competitive, and this is another common reason that is voiced by those who favour these markets. D. P. Bhatia a resident of Sector 6, DDA flat voices a grudge. “There is a continuous hustle and bustle on the day of the market and there is litter and garbage at the end of the day which is quite late in the night on most days. It is quite unsafe also and all this is a nuisance for all residents of societies nearby.” Varsha Sridhar adds, “There should be a centralized vegetable market in Dwarka. Till then this weekly bazar is a great source for all our convenience needs. We get a wide range of products at very competitive prices along with ample variety. I pick up my weekly stock of green vegetables on my way back home from office and it’s a real boon.”
While these markets do solve a major problem for housewives who are on the lookout for a quick bargain or do not have the time to go to the nearest shopping centre, the mushrooming of these markets has brought to the fore a number of problems that need to be addressed, both by the authorities and the citizens. There is problem of garbage and litter being thrown around. After the market closes, the area is littered with trash and presents a very unpleasant sight. Also, left overs of vegetables etc. are left to rot the whole night and attract dogs, stray and vermin. A more serious issue that has come to light is the fact that the crowd and congestion at these markets have drawn a number of unscrupulous elements, pickpockets and vagabonds who are on the lookout for making a quick buck by snatching or picking pockets of shoppers. There is hardly any police movement or check on such activities. At least on the day of the weekly market, a PCR should be stationed there. Residents of the housing societies also complain that the noise and commotion that the weekly markets create has become a real headache, particularly since there is no stipulated time for the closure of these markets. At least there should be an outer limit by which these shops should be closed down. Whatever benefits come as a result of these weekly markets, it should be better regulated so that these do not become a nuisance to the citizens.

The Sector-6 weekly market has been held on every Tuesday for the last 20 years. Around 200 to 250 shopkeepers sell fresh vegetables/ fruits and other household items from 5 pm to 10pm. It is very conveniently located for the residents who can easily buy fresh fruits and vegetables from this market. It is an approved market and MCD issues receipts to the shopkeepers. We have been given the responsibility to ensure that there are no unwanted incidents like snatching, eve teasing, stampede etc happen.  We are a team of 6 to 7 volunteers, who ensure the residents do not face any problem.  We also have four-five mics for crowd management. I keep guiding them to take care of their vehicles and beware of chain snatchings.
Hazari Lal, Organiser, Sector 6 weekly market

I have been in Dwarka since 2000, when there were no fresh vegetable markets and residents used to go to Nasirpur (near Dabri Mod) to buy weekly requirements of Fruits and Vegetables. A weekly market was organized on a trial basis with 10-15 shopkeepers in Sector-6 and it continued for some time. Residents started coming from different sectors and gradually it became big but crowded. Meanwhile other sectors also started having weekly markets. The population of Sector-22 and 23 was quite thin and the residents were not comfortable travelling to other sectors. I decided to serve the residents of this area with fresh fruits and vegetables. Initially it was quite tough to get vendors as the sale was not very encouraging but in the last 15 years, the market have grown and now it is organized twice a week i.e. Thursday and Saturday. The residents of Sector 22 and 23 visit regularly to buy vegetables/ fruits/ daily needs from this market.  
Bobby, Organiser, Sector- 23

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