Despite retailers stocking up on essentials, the prices of fruits and vegetables rose by at least 20 per cent

The usually busy Koyambedu market, the city’s wholesale hub for perishable goods, wore a deserted look on Tuesday as traders and labourers went on strike in support of Sri Lankan Tamils.

Traders downed shutters of over 4,000 shops in the fruits, flowers and vegetable markets in the wholesale complex demanding the Central government adopt a resolution in Parliament on human rights violations in Sri Lanka and seek an international enquiry on war crimes against Sri Lankan Tamils.

An attempt to burn an effigy of Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa was averted by the police.

As the traders had planned the 24-hour strike, which began on 10 p.m. on Monday, in advance, vehicles transporting goods from other States as far as Maharashtra were diverted to other markets. M. Thyagarajan, executive committee member of the federation of Koyambedu wholesale traders association, said that the daily turnover of the market is nearly Rs. 25-30 crore, including sales of flowers.

Besides traders, nearly 20,000 daily labourers gave up their wages of Rs. 200-300 for the cause.  This is the second time in the last one year that the market is downing shutters over the issue.

However, the strike did not affect the retail trade much as most traders had purchased additional quantities of produce to last for a day. The price of most vegetables did go up by 20 per cent. S. Srinivasan, another trader said “The rise in prices may continue on Wednesday and the situation will stabilise by Wednesday evening.”

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