Proposal to shift market has not seen any progress yet

Cramped for space and lacking in amenities, ‘Vazhakkai Mandi,’ the wholesale banana market functioning adjacent to Gandhi Market in the city, cries for better infrastructure.

Although the market is one of the biggest in the region from where retail traders from different districts buy the fruit in auctions every day, it has been functioning with primitive infrastructure amidst poor sanitary conditions down the years.

With Tiruchi and neighbouring Karur districts being major banana-growing districts in the State, over 65 banana traders operate out of the market.

The market attracts about 15,000 to 20,000 banana bunches every day and the arrivals are auctioned and transported every evening. Yet, the auctions are held at a small open space where all banana bunches have been off loaded, hardly leaving any space for movement of people.

“Lack of space in the market forces us to offload and auction our produce right outside the market on the East Boulevard Road. The auction centre has no roof and only traders have now put up a temporary thatched roof (pandal) to protect the fruits from the scorching sun. The corporation has not provided any amenities,” says a trader who does not want to be identified.

Traders and farmers complain over the poor sanitary condition at the market. The adjoining fish market and a drain flowing nearby leave an overpowering stench. Traders claim the corporation does not even provide sanitary workers to clear the organic waste generated at the market. Traders themselves have hired 10 workers to remove the garbage generated in the market and dump it outside for the corporation vehicles to transport them to the garbage dump.

A few months ago, the corporation had proposed to shift the banana market to the Viragupettai overhead tank complex by building a commercial complex at the site. However, there has been no progress on the decision so far. The move met with resistance from traders.

Sources in the corporation pointed out that the civic body has decided to renovate the Gandhi Market, which was established 70 years ago, for providing better amenities.