Wholesale traders to halt business till May 10, as Koyambedu market shuts down

Arrangements are being made to set up a temporary market in Thirumazhisai

May 05, 2020 03:22 pm | Updated 03:22 pm IST - CHENNAI

On Tuesday, traders in Koyambedu prepared to leave the market

On Tuesday, traders in Koyambedu prepared to leave the market

After last-minute sales on Tuesday morning, the Koyambedu wholesale market was temporarily shut, as it had turned into a hotspot for COVID-19 in the State. Meanwhile, wholesale vegetable merchants have decided to halt trade till May 10 in the city.

While the available stock in the retail shops is considered to be enough to last for two or three days, the sudden closure of the wholesale hub may have an impact on the supply of vegetables and fruits in the city, according to wholesalers.

Officials in the Koyambedu Market Management Committee said one gate was kept open for the traders to wind up business till 10 a.m. “We plan to disinfect the entire market premises and clear the garbage. Normally, the market generates about 180-200 tonnes of garbage. We expect only up to 80 tonnes of garbage now, as there has been a decrease in the number of open shops and visitors,” said an official.

As the bio-methanation plant at Koyambedu is under repair, the garbage collected from the market would be sent to the dumpyard. Labourers who were transported to alternative accommodation, would be tested for COVID-19.

On Tuesday, the market received about 80-100 truckloads of vegetables. However, sales were dull and prices dipped as only retail traders from the city and outskirts visited the market for last-minute purchases.

M. Thyagarajan, president, Koyambedu Vegetables, Fruits and Flowers Merchants Association said: “We have decided to source arrivals and halt business till May 10. We plan to approach the government to reconsider the decision on shutting down the market. Instead, they may allow the market to function with restrictions of limited shops and limited number of vehicles in Koyambedu to keep prices under control.”

The traders associations also want the authorities concerned to provide sufficient facilities, including water and transport for retail traders.

Alternative market in Thirumazhisai

Meanwhile, arrangements are being made to set up a temporary market in Thirumazhisai satellite town on Tuesday. “A total of 100 wholesale shops will be set up. Direct vehicle-to-vehicle transfer will also take place -- vegetables will be transferred from a bigger vehicle into a smaller one and it will be taken to different parts of the city and district,” said Tiruvallur collector Mageswari Ravikumar.

In order to ensure people don’t get infected in the new market, the district administration has formed teams. “We will have check posts for vehicles’ entry and exit. Vendors will be checked for symptoms and provided with umbrellas to ensure physical distancing,” she added.

According to the police, about 100 police personnel will be deployed to monitor the functioning of the market. “Discussions are on to decide whether CCTVs should be installed. The market is expected to function from 6 p.m to 6 a.m.," said a police officer.

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