Despite lockdown, roads choked with vehicles near Koyambedu market on Friday

Despite restrictions, many vehicles choked the roads near Koyambedu Market on Friday   | Photo Credit: M. Vedhan

Despite the appeal to people not to visit markets and to avoid over-crowding, thousands flocked to the Koyambedu Wholesale Market Complex (KWMC) on Friday to buy vegetables, fruits and flowers, and roads leading to the market were choked with vehicles.

Two days ago, individuals and retail sellers gathered in large numbers with little regard to physical distancing norms and other restrictions put in place in view of the COVID-19 pandemic. On seeing the uncontrollable surge in the crowd, the Market Management Committee, which maintains the market, appealed to the public not to throng the market and advised them to buy vegetables over mobile apps.

On Friday morning, there was a huge rush again. Roads were choked with two-wheelers, goods carriers and auto rickshaws as police refused to allow many vehicles to enter on the ground of restrictions. They allowed vehicles of bulk buyers and retailers who had the required passes. All entry points were sealed and notifications were affixed on walls of the market. Police personnel had a tough time regulating the crowd, as many individuals who came to market entered into arguments with the force.

A police officer said, “A large number of people gathered here to buy vegetables and fruits and did not bother to maintain personal distancing. Some of them said they came all the way from Manali to buying coriander or a couple of brinjals. The market committee has appealed repeatedly to the public not to visit the market and to utilise mobile apps and the door delivery system created by the CMDA. Notifications were affixed at all entrances of the market and only pass-holders are allowed.”

Sales in Koyambedu wholesale market were heavily hit on Thursday as many retailers were turned away too. Vehicles were stopped even a few kilometres away on Kaliamman Koil Street, Koyambedu, as the police discouraged entry into the market without a pass.

According to wholesale traders, there was a traffic pile up near Anna Nagar and Arumbakkam too on Thursday morning. Instead of the five gates, only the gate on E Road near Kaliamman Koil Street was opened and two-wheelers were not allowed.

There are about 5,000 wholesale traders in the market and passes are yet to reach some of them, they said. P. Sukumar, treasurer, Koyambedu Vegetables, Fruits and Flowers Merchants Association, said of the 2,000 labourers who are now working in the market, about 500 of them who stay in the neighbourhood were unable to reach the market.

Only 50% of the produce that arrived in the market was sold due to the confusion. The authorities may check for passes after the peak business hours till 6 a.m. as it would help restrict unnecessary crowds in the market, he said.

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Printable version | Jun 16, 2021 12:48:00 AM |

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