It will have 1,000 shops, cold storage with capacity to store 2,000 tonnes

The establishment of Central Market for Vegetables, Fruits, and Flowers, announced by Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa on Monday, is expected to help decongest the Gandhi Market, one of the biggest markets in the State, in the city.

The Central Market to be established on a 9.79-acre plot on the outskirts of the city at Kallikudi, off the Tiruchi-Madurai National Highway, about 15 km from here, could emerge as a hub for vegetables, fruits, and flowers markets in the city, official sources said.

The market would be established at a cost of Rs. 77.06 crore with financial assistance under the Rural Infrastructure Development Fund of the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development, sources told The Hindu here on Tuesday. According to the sources, the land for the market had been acquired and would be set up through the Tiruchi Market Committee.

Going by the Chief Minister’s announcement, the market would have all modern infrastructure with 1,000 shops, a cold storage of 2,000 tonne capacity, sorting and grading yards and wide internal roads to facilitate easy movement of trucks loading and unloading goods at the facility.

The announcement comes in the wake of the long-pending demand for shifting the wholesale section of the Gandhi Market to a spacious location on the outskirts of the city. However, there was no indication yet whether the wholesale traders of the Gandhi Market would be asked to shift to the new facility. With the project being drawn up by the Agri Business and Marketing Department, the Tiruchirapalli City Corporation sources have no clue on whether the wholesale traders would be shifted to Kallikudi. “We do not know whether the Gandhi Market traders are to be shifted. But the idea is to decongest the Gandhi Market and the new facility could emerge as a hub for wholesale trade in future,” a senior official said.

He pointed out that the corporation had been trying to shift sections of the wholesale trade to different places including the Viragupettai, Sengulam, and Panchapur. “Ideally, we would like to have only the retail market here,” he said.

The corporation had recently drawn up a plan to renovate the Gandhi Market, established in 1940, in a phased manner over the next few years. Spread over 6.5 acres of land with over 1,500 shops, including platform shops, the market has poor infrastructure and amenities. Shops are in a dilapidated condition and even slight showers make the area slushy. Lack of hygiene had been a perennial problem. Different sections of the market spills over the Madurai Road, Thanjavur Road, Nelpettai Road, East Boulevard Road, and Sub-Jail Road, and have become a major traffic bottleneck in the city.

The corporation, the sources said, would go ahead with its renovation plans as per a master plan.