Central Market here has again come into focus with plans by the district administration to restrict the entry of lorries into the market area, even as a section of traders are opposing it.
Lorries bring vegetables and fruits to wholesale traders in the market. The move to check their entry is aimed at easing the traffic congestion inside the market premises.
Following instructions from Deputy Commissioner V. Ponnuraj, the city corporation has put up an arch on the Lady Goshen Hospital-Central Market Road to prevent heavy vehicles from entering the market premises. However, heavy vehicles can still enter into the market through other roads.
Lorries are supposed to transport only vegetables and fruits to wholesale traders inside the market. But many transporters from outside the district park their vehicles on the road outside and indulge in trading from their vehicles, which they are not supposed to do, said Mr. Ponnuraj.
“This has hit the genuine traders inside the market building hard and prompted them to come out and trade, which has compounded the problem,” he said.
The road outside the market building is meant only for vehicles transporting vegetables and fruits to Kerala. Of the total quantity of vegetables and fruits traded from such vehicles, 80 per cent goes to Kerala, according to Mr. Ponnuraj.
“We are not against supplying vegetables and fruits to any State. For that, transporters and wholesale traders should use the Agricultural Produce and Marketing Committee yard at Baikampady,” he said.
Mr. Ponnuraj, who recently took over as the administrator of the APMC, said that all facilities would be created for the wholesale traders if they shift to the APMC yard. Retailers could transport vegetables and fruits from the APMC yard to Central Market using mini-lorries, he said.
M. Ahmed Bawa, a former director of the APMC and convener of the recently formed Kendra Marukatte Parisara Vyaparasaktara Okkoota, however, said that the retail traders would be forced to increase the prices of vegetables and fruits to meet the additional transportation cost.
Mr. Ponnuraj said that a majority of wholesale traders had agreed to identify a site and shift there. If the site identified by them was approved by the district administration, the APMC would notify it for wholesale trading. “But no infrastructure will be created there. They will have to make their own arrangements,” he said. Mr. Bawa said that vacant land measuring about 1.1 acres belonging to the APMC was available on Nellikai Road, near Central Market. Transporters could be allowed to park their lorries there. The APMC was planning to construct a building there on public-private partnership, he said.
Terming the suggestion a ridiculous one, Mr. Ponnuraj said, “The narrow Nellikai Road is already congested. Moreover, permitting the transporters to park their vehicles there will not reduce the congestion in Central Market area.”
Hameed Kandak, general secretary, Central Market Merchants' Association, said that henceforth all lorries would enter the market premises between 8 p.m. and 7 a.m. for unloading.
Later, from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m., the items would be loaded onto mini-lorries bound for Kerala, Bhatkal and other places. “We met the Mayor on Tuesday and gave her our commitment to this effect,” he said.
Mr. Kandak said that the association was planning to purchase 10 acres of private land near Kannur and shift the wholesale operations there.
The APMC yard was not conducive for stocking vegetables and fruits. “We will not move there,” he said.