Hanoi authorities are encountering troubles with traders when trying to rebuild and upgrade deteriorated traditional markets. Traders complain the improvements are ruining their businesses.
Traders at Nghia Tan market opposed the upgraded plan
Recently, nearly 500 traders at Nghia Tan Market gathered at Cau Giay District People Committee headquarters to oppose the decision to upgrade the market.
According to the plan, Nghia Tan market would be changed into an office and shopping complex with indoor market.
Although the traders approved of rebuilding the downgraded market, they did not agree with the choice of commercial building, claiming the change would ruin their businesses.
A prime example they said is the rebuild of Hang Da Market.
In 2007, despite the traders' proposals to contribute capital after the change of Hang Da market, traders have had to work in an underground market behind the new building. Business has slowed considerably since the location is hard to find. Many traders have to put their kiosks up for sale.
After one year, Tuyet, a trader admitted she would sell her kiosk. "After we moved here, income dropped constantly. People are reluctant to come and buy because they think since we sell goods in a commercial building, the prices must be high."
The city's policy is to change deteriorated markets into multifunctional buildings. The investors provided bigger kiosks, reasonable rental prices and better businesses.
However, Vu Vinh Phu, Chairman of Hanoi Supermarket Association said the market 'function' is overwhelmed by the office and commercial functions in the new design. "A market shouldn't be an enclosed space. It has to be ventilated even underground."
At a conference on managing traditional markets on June 20 held by the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MIT), many traders protested against turning traditional markets into commercial buildings.
Dr. Hoang Tho Xuan of MIT's Trade Research Institute said traditional markets offered diverse, fresh groceries, cheap prices and a unique relationship between traders and buyers. He also said that a supermarket model should not be applied to traditional markets because it would cause inconvenience for both traders and buyers.
Dr. Stephanie Geertman of Canada's HealthBridge Centre said if the government only focused on modern retail channels, they would hand over the control over food supply for private companies.
The deputy head of MIT said the change should be reconsidered. Rising rental fees not only caused trouble for traders but the lack of customers had also caused losses to investors.
Businesses at Hang Da Market took a deep dive despite investors' promises
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