CHENNAI: Recent inspections by top officials at two sites - in Potheri and Kilambakkam - have raised speculations over whether the government is planning a new Koyambedu-like market in South Chennai.An official said 60 per cent of vehicles carrying vegetables enter Koyambedu through Tambaram. “Rather than congesting the city and the market with these vehicles, we are thinking of opening a new market in South Chennai,” he added. This move would also benefit the traders in Tambaram and residents of South Chennai who are completely dependent on Koyambedu market. The official also said the idea is still in the planning stage.
Meanwhile, the livelihood of more than 3,500 traders of Koyambedu wholesale vegetable and fruits market is at stake as the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) has failed to find an alternate site to help them resume their business. The traders, bitter at being ignored by the Market Management Committee (MMC) on Monday, gathered in front of the MMC building urging the Chief Administrative Officer to either open up the locked Koyambedu wholesale market or to provide them with an alternate site.
Trader leader D Manivannan told Express, “It is time the government intervenes and allows functioning of the Koyambedu market with Standard Operating Procedures,” said Manivannan. He said markets in Delhi and other cities have opened with restrictions. “If they are harping on social distancing, how did they allow 200 shops to function in less than seven acres of land in Madhavaram?” he reasoned. ASR Kannan, another trader, said: “I don’t have money for my daily needs. While others get government dole for loss of business, fruit and vegetable traders don’t have any support system,” he rued.
Interestingly, vegetable traders in Thirumazhisai as well as fruit traders in Madhavaram are also not happy. “During the rains, the entire site gets inundated,” said a trader. They alleged the process of shifting the market to other sites was a thoughtless exercise. “Without a clear roadmap or taking traders into confidence, it was done hurriedly,” said Kannan.
In Madhavaram, CMDA officials are caught in a fix, as they have accommodated 250 traders in a limited space. After being rapped by the Chief Secretary, CMDA officials planned to shift some shops to the first floor but traders have been refusing to do so.
Officials told Express that an alternate site is being looked at for vegetable traders while the plea by sellers
to work on alternate days in Madhavaram is also being looked at.