CHENNAI: The Madras High Court on Wednesday issued notice to authorities concerned on a petition seeking to reopen wholesale foodgrain shops located in the Koyambedu market complex here, which was shut after it emerged as a COVID-19 hotspot.
Justice M Duraisamy issued the notice to Chief Administrative Officer of the market management panel, Koyambedu wholesale market complex on the plea by Founder President of Koyambedu Food Grains Traders' Association, S Chandresan.
When the matter came up for hearing through video conference, the judge directed the Member Secretary of Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority, the Special Nodal Officer of Disaster Management and Mitigation, Commissioner of Police, Chennai to file their counter and posted the matter for further hearing to May 26.
Alleging that COVID-19 cases were detected among the workers and traders at the vegetable market within the sprawling complex, the petitioner claimed that officials had closed the shops in the wholesale food grain market also.
Recently, Koyambedu emerged as coronavirus superspreader, with number of people from far away districts contracting the virus after visiting the bustling market.
Koyambedu wholesale market, the largest in Asia, attracts people from across Tamil Nadu who come here to sell their products or seeking work.
The petitioner submitted that there were 200 members in their association engaged in whole sale trade of rice, food grains and provisional items to retailers in Chennai.
While an alternative site was provided to set up the vegetable market in Thirumazhisai near here, no arrangement has been made for the food grain market, which is essential for public, the petitioner pointed out.
Observing that the food grains market was functioning separately and was accessed only by the retail vendors, he said it can be operated through proper regulation and monitoring by the market committee by adhering to safety measures.
Already representations were made to the authorities but to no avail.
Hence, the petitioner moved the court and prayed for a direction to the authorities to grant permisison to open their shops.