Legislative Assembly Member Anil Benake on Sunday opened a new wholesale flower market at Ashok Nagar in Belagavi.
The new market which has set up on an acre of land along the Bengaluru-Pune national road has 16 stores and 10 temporary sheds for auctions and sales. It was developed by the Department of Horticulture and the Municipality at a cost of around 2 crore.
The demand for a spacious and well-equipped wholesale horticultural market was long overdue. The horticultural ministry approached the municipality more than a decade ago. The market operated in Gandhi Nagar until recently. The wholesalers held auctions in the mornings and bought flowers from growers in lots on open land with only a few facilities available. The small space was once crowded and commuters struggled through frequent traffic jams.
The municipality ceded land to the department and entered into a memorandum of understanding with it.
The flower auction center was built last year and the infrastructure, including roads, water and electricity supply, canteen and resting places, was recently completed.
The store allocation process was delayed, apparently because the two government agencies were not communicating properly. Some traders also alleged corruption and politicization in the award process.
All of these issues were addressed and assignments were made in a transparent manner. “We also got a functional income agreement with the municipality which allowed us to open it,” said deputy director of horticulture Ravindra Hakati.
“We have allocated a quarter of the number of stores to farmers. However, traders are more demanding. We will be opening temporary stores now and then expanding outlets in the future, ”he said.
Mr Benake said the market will increase the income of flower growers. “A committee headed by Deputy Commissioner MG Hiremath will be in charge of running the center, including the auction process. We will improve the facilities at the center in stages and make it one of the best in the state, ”he said.
He urged traders to avoid trading in other locations and to make maximum use of existing facilities.
Agents from the Kiran Kumar Upale Horticultural Department, HV Lengde, traders and members of the district horticulturalists’ association were present.