CHENNAI: Even as India gets ready for the 21-day lockdown, retail vegetable shops in Koyambedu Wholesale Market remained open despite boards at the gate announcing shops will not open.
When officials of the Market Management Committee (MMC) failed to close the shops, the police were called in and they put up barriers on roads leading to the market, to prevent the public from accessing the market.
Oblivious to the COVID-19 threat, people with children and elderly made a beeline to the market on Wednesday. When Express spoke to a family that came to the market with children, a woman nonchalantly said they had almost done shopping. Another family that came in a government vehicle left the child inside the vehicle. Some MMC officials were seen taking away keys from two-wheelers even as owners pleaded they will not violate the ban again.
Muthukumar, the retail vegetable association head, said the retail vegetable shops were functioning and he asked officials to shut them down. Many traders and people were reluctant to leave with some saying that shops near their houses were not open. Meanwhile, many truck drivers at the market were left searching for hotels for a meal. A driver from Patna lamented he would have to go hungry as none of the hotels in the vicinity were open. Chief Administrative officer of Koyambedu Market said MMC had made arrangements to supply food parcels to workers and drivers.