Modern wholesale foodgrain market coming up at Koyambedu for traders from George Town

The countdown has begun for the shifting of businesses from wholesale foodgrain market in George Town to Koyambedu. Residents and small businesses will be able to purchase products such as cereals, pulses and spices at an affordable cost in Koyambedu Market after the construction of a modern wholesale foodgrain market near the existing fruit, flower and vegetable market in 18 months.

The Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) has given its nod for the construction of the new market.

The project covering 364 shops measuring 280 sq ft, 92 shops measuring 740 sq ft and 36 shops measuring 1,200 sq ft will start next month.

The project is aimed at decongesting the central business district of George Town by shifting the business from the crowded area to the existing wholesale market complex in Koyambedu where phase-I of the market for vegetables and fruits has been developed by constructing 3,194 shops.

A portion of the original site of 20 acre earmarked for the foodgrain market was taken over by Chennai Metro Rail and an alternative site between B-Road and E-Road in Koyambedu was identified by the CMDA. A total of 479 traders of foodgrains in Kothwal Chavadi of George Town have agreed to move to the new market complex. Over 2,000 of the traders are part of the bustling market of foodgrains and spices in Kothwal Chavadi where traffic congestion is one of the problems.

This is a reason for the shifting of the market by the CMDA. “Only one-fourth of the market in Kothwal Chavadi will be relocated by this move of the CMDA. But, most of the traders are willing to relocate,” said S. Chandresan, president of Chennai Kothwal Chavadi Area Wholesale Merchants' Federation.

The safety of our clients who hire autorickshaws from CMBT to George Town has emerged as a major issue now. “Recently a client from Tiruvanamalai lost Rs.10 lakh when he was on the move towards Kothwal Chavadi in an auto from CMBT. The new market near mofussil stand and the proposed metro rail station may address the issue of safety too,” he added.

However, some of the traders in Kothwal Chavadi pointed to the fact that a few had also lost their livelihood because of the shifting of the vegetable, fruit and flower market to Koyambedu many years ago. “Many successful traders in Kothwal Chavadi who purchased shops in Koyambedu last decade were unable to cope with the new conditions of business in a new area. Some have lost their livelihood now,” said Gnanaprakasam, a trader in Kothwal Chavadi.

The first phase of the foodgrain market, to come up on 58,305 sq m, is estimated to cost Rs.67 crore. The total area of the built up space of the market will be 2,13,200 sq ft The traders have already paid about 10 per cent of the shop cost and pay the rest in instalments.

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Aloysius Xavier LopezJune 28, 2012

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