CHENNAI: Koyambedu vegetable and fruit traders are up in arms against an online firm Ninjacart (India’s largest B2B fresh produce supply chain company) which they accuse of trying to monopolise their business.
On Thursday morning, a group of traders blocked vehicles belonging to the online firm alleging that it was going against Tamil Nadu Specified Commodities (Regulation of location) Act 1996 enacted to ensure perishable goods are sold only at Koyambedu wholesale market.
S Chandran, Market Management Committee Licensed Merchants Association president and Anaithu Sangankalin Kootamaipu general secretary, told Express they resorted to the protest since vehicles belonging to the firm was bringing substandard or leftover vegetables to Koyambedu market after selling the best produce through online. Ninjacart officials could not be reached for comments.
Chandran said the firm has godowns on the outskirts of the city at Red Hills andPoonamallee. It is said to be buying vegetables directly from farmers and after store them in godowns sell it online at a cheaper rate than Koyambedu traders. The traders said they are agitated because Ninjacart sold the produce to retailers at a cheaper rate and also took back the unsold vegetables which are later pushed into market. “They sell it in the morning and the unsold stock is taken back during the evening while doing the collection,” said Chandran. Leftover vegetables are then pushed into the market. “This resulted in getting a bad name for us and moreover it gave credence to Ninjacart’s claim of selling vegetables directly to Koyambedu market,” he said.
When their vehicle came to sell the leftover vegetables, the protesting traders handed them over to police and also asked food safety officials to check and ensure whether the vegetables are good for sales.
The protest was launched around 4am and was settled after police promised the traders that action would be taken.