Due to hike in maintenance charges

After April 10, the prices of vegetables and fruits could go up by a whopping 20 per cent. The traders of the Koyambedu wholesale complex say they will be left with no other option but to hike prices if the Market Management Committee (MMC) increases maintenance charges and entry fee.

Vegetables such as tomato (Rs.26 per kg) and ladies fingers (Rs.52 per kg) are already expensive owing to fewer arrivals in summer. The maintenance fee was re-introduced last year by the MMC citing the need to develop infrastructure in the market. However, traders allege that facilities continue to remain poor. With an increase in the fee, their profit margins could get hit even more, they claim.

During a recent meeting with the MMC officials, it was decided that the maintenance fee would not be collected for the next few days until a consensus was arrived with the traders. At present, the traders have been asked to pay Rs.1.50 per sq.ft. as maintenance fee.

M. Thayagarajan, a wholesale trader, said the small traders would suffer as the quantum of their business would vary every day. The fee was earlier Rs.1 per sq.ft. and was scrapped in 2008 as the MMC earned revenue from other sources.

Entry fee

The entry fee has also been doubled. While visitors in two-wheelers and four-wheelers have to pay Rs.5 and Rs.10 for parking, lorries and commercial vehicles bringing produce have to shell out between Rs.60 and Rs.200 per trip.

S. Chandran, another wholesale trader, said the lorry drivers would reimburse the cost from the traders who in turn might be forced to recover the cost from the sales. Traders said last year, revenue of nearly Rs.7-8 crore was earned through entry fee collection and other services. However, the fund was not used properly to improve facilities such as roads and conservancy operations.

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