Seeking to set at rest speculations over any possible move to shift traders of the Gandhi Market to the new market complex proposed to be built at Panchapur in the city, the Tiruchi Corporation has announced that the existing wholesale and retail trade at the market would be allowed to function without any hindrance.
The corporation has announced that a modern market complex would be established as part of the ₹832 crore project to establish an integrated bus stand for the city on an area of about 500 acres at Panchapur, off the Tiruchi-Madurai Highway. One of the components of the project would be the establishment of a modern market complex at an investment of ₹110 crore. The complex would have shops for wholesale and retail trade of vegetable and food grains, Corporation Commissioner Mujibur Rahuman said.
The facility would be established in an area of 22 acres and would include cold storages and storage godowns. Traders, including those from Gandhi Market, and public can apply for allotment of shops at the market, he said. His announcement comes in the wake of speculations that traders of the Gandhi Market may be asked to shift to the new facility at Panchapur. One of the traders associations had opposed any such move.
He indicated that the corporation intends to pursue a plan to refurbish the Gandhi Market. “The market, which has become dilapidated, will be renovated at a cost of ₹60 crore,” he said.
Although the corporation had announced plans to renovate the market a few years ago under the Smart City Mission, it had not pursued the project subsequently. In the meantime, the district administration and the Tiruchi Market Committee had made sporadic but unsuccessful attempts last year to shift traders of the market to the Central Market for Vegetables, Fruits and Flowers at Kallikudi on the outskirts of the city.
Traders had resisted the move to shift them to the Central Market, built at a cost of ₹77 crore with assistance from National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD). Situated about 12 km away from the city off the Tiruchi-Madurai National Highway, the complex has been at a centre of a row ever since it was opened in September 2017 after traders refused to shift to the market on the grounds that it was far away from the city and the shops did not suit their requirements. The market was established on 9.79 acres with 830 shops.
Farmers groups, who have been allotted shops at the Central Market,and some consumer activists have been urging the authorities to make the new market complex functional in the wake of failed efforts to shift traders from Gandhi Market to this facility. The Market Committee, functioning under the Department of Agricultural Marketing and Agri Business, had been taking efforts, without much success, to allot some of the vacant shops in the complex to traders from other parts of the State other than those from the Gandhi Market.
Sources in the department expressed confidence that the central market would become functional and attract traders once the integrated bus stand comes up, as it was not very far off from Panchapur.