Move to allot Kallikudi market to FPOs receives mixed reaction

The State government’s decision to allot a portion of shops built at Kallikudi to farmer producers’ organisations has received mixed reaction from city residents.

An integrated market was constructed at Kallikudi on the city outskirts at an estimated ₹77 crore and declared open in 2017.

A section of traders, who are reluctant to shift their operations to the new market, have welcomed the allotment, while a section of consumers oppose it.

“The new market at Kallikudi was built mainly to relocate the entire functioning of Gandhi Market so as to avoid traffic congestion and public inconvenience. If it is not shifted to Kallikudi, we presume that the very purpose of building the market by spending crores of money is defeated,” points out S. Pushpavanam, secretary, Consumer Protection Council, Tiruchi.

The traders of Gandhi Market have attended several meetings convened by officials before finalising the Kallikudi proposal. If they had reservations over the distance, they should have aired their views strongly before finalising the location. The reasons cited by traders for refusing to relocate are unacceptable, he says.

Most of the traders of Gandhi Market are not the original allottees. Several of them are illegally occupying the shops. If the market is not shifted, motorists and residents will have to suffer due to traffic snarls and encroachments for years together, he adds.

However, traders have welcomed the decision. They feel that it is a victory for their spirited struggle.

A.M.P. Abdul Hakkim, a vegetable trader at Gandhi Market, says traders have no hesitation in moving to a new market. But, it should be within two to three km radium within the city limit. The government’s move will help farmers, who are engaged in collective farming, as they can use Kallikudi market as a storage point.

According to Ve. Govindarajulu, general secretary, Tamil Nadu Vanigar Sangangalin Peramaippu, Tiruchi, traders have been opposing the location of the new market right from day one. No one accepted the move to construct a new market at about 15 km from Tiruchi. No resident will travel such a long distance to buy vegetables, fruits or flowers. The traders presented several petitions to the authorities, highlighting their reservation of the location.

He says the market was opened in 2018 against their wish. Only a handful of traders shifted their operation upon persuasion by authorities. But, they closed their shops within a week due to poor patronage. About 250 traders, who were allotted shops at Kallikudi, surrendered their keys to officials.

“We wholeheartedly welcome the government’s decision. There is no different opinion on shifting the 140-year-old Gandhi Market. Similar to onion mandi traders, we have begun the process of constructing a private market on 20 acres of land on Tiruchi-Chennai Highway. We will expedite the process,” Mr. Govindarajulu says.

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Printable version | Apr 7, 2020 12:27:28 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/move-to-allot-kallikudi-market-to-fpos-receives-mixed-reaction/article30852984.ece

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