Kochi

Fish auction called off at Varapuzha market

Police personnel keeping watch at the Varappuzha market to ensure compliance with COVID-19 protocol by people.

Police personnel keeping watch at the Varappuzha market to ensure compliance with COVID-19 protocol by people.  

Crowd control measures to be intensified; tokens to be given to customers

After crowding in violation of COVID-19 physical-distancing protocol persisted at the Varapuzha market, the Varapuzha panchayat, along with traders and the police, has decided to implement more stringent measures.

“Despite an action plan that was implemented last week onwards to regulate the crowd, the early hours of the morning, beginning from around 3 a.m., have been witnessing large crowds of vendors at the market, mostly for the auction of fish,” said K.S. Muhammed, panchayat president. On Monday, a meeting of panchayat members, police and traders at the market decided to call off the auction from Tuesday onwards.

With other duties at hand for a force of only around 25 staff at the Varapuzha station, the police have also been struggling to manage the situation. “The crowd would have to be regulated from within and proper monitoring ensured by members of the market association,” said J.S. Sajeevkumar, Inspector of Police, Varapuzha. He said that three police personnel had been stationed regularly at the market. After an inspection on Monday, K. Karthik, District Police Chief, Ernakulam Rural, has directed traders at the market to mark circles outside shops to ensure that people stand at a 1-metre distance of each other.

“Tokens will be given outside to ensure that only hundred people enter the market, which houses some 40 shops, at a time,” Mr. Muhammed said. Each shop has also been directed to maintain a record of names and phone numbers of customers, besides providing hand sanitisers. The crowd was currently being managed by four home guards, and this would soon be increased to eight, he said. As per the action plan prepared earlier, only a single entry and exit point was permitted for vehicles unloading goods at the market and thermal scanners were being used at the entrance.

“Crowd at the market is nearly impossible to avoid since there are vegetable, meat and fish shops that are all crammed into a small space,” said Paul B. of the Swathanthra Matsya Thozhilali Union. “Customers from all over the district visit the market and over a hundred fish vendors depend on it. The crowd can be controlled only to a limited extent. But traders would cooperate with the measures and implement them from Tuesday onwards,” he said.

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Printable version | Aug 4, 2020 2:48:41 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/fish-auction-called-off-at-varapuzha-market/article32004386.ece

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