Tamil Nadu

Coronavirus | Traders to blame for Koyambedu market cluster, says Edappadi Palaniswami

Attempts to shut down Koyambedu market faced resistance, says Tamil Nadu Chief Minister

Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami on Wednesday blamed wholesale vegetable and fruit traders for the expanding Koyambedu market cluster, stating that they “stiffly opposed” the government’s move to close down the market earlier.

Coronavirus | What turned Koyambedu, Chennai’s popular wholesale complex market, into a COVID-19 hotspot?

Incidentally, the day saw Tamil Nadu’s COVID-19 numbers cross the 9,000-mark, with 509 new cases.

“It is because of the traders’ refusal to accept the government’s proposal to shift many people from Koyambedu that the number of cases in Chennai has been increasing,” the CM said.

Mr. Palaniswami told District Collectors during a virtual meeting that repeated talks held with the traders of Koyambedu had failed and so the government had to close the market down recently.

“Attempts were made several times to shift the market out of Koyambedu, but the traders refused to cooperate, fearing loss of business. So, reports in sections of the media that the government’s inaction led to the spread of the disease from Koyambedu are not true,” he insisted.

According to the CM, from the first meeting held on March 19 until April-end, the traders kept citing loss of business if they shifted elsewhere and so stayed put.

Also read | Koyambedu as COVID-19 hotspot: Did authorities fail to read the signs?

Deputy Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam and CMDA officials were involved in the talks, but “in vain”, he said.

The talks were held on March 19, 29, April 6, 11 and 24, Mr. Palaniswami said.

“Only after the government informed them that the market would be closed down, did the traders eventually accept the move to Thirumazhisai, where the market has been operating since May 10 with their cooperation,” the Chief Minister said.

The wholesale markets for flowers, vegetables and fruits in Koyambedu, the largest in Asia, were set up in 1996. The complex has 3,941 shops, in which 20,000 people are directly employed and another 20,000 workers visit on a daily basis.

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Printable version | Jul 14, 2020 11:06:22 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/coronavirus-traders-to-blame-for-koyambedu-market-cluster-says-edappadi-palaniswami/article31578003.ece

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