Tamil Nadu

Jayakumar defends govt.’s handling of Koyambedu affair

It was only after the market had been identified as a source of infection that it was closed, said Minister Jayakumar. File photo

It was only after the market had been identified as a source of infection that it was closed, said Minister Jayakumar. File photo  

T.N. govt. held six rounds of talks with traders before deciding to shift to Thirumazhisai, he says

Fisheries Minister D. Jayakumar on Friday defended the way the State government handled the issue of relocation of traders at the Koyambedu wholesale market.

In an interaction with reporters in Chennai, Mr.Jayakumar said the government held six rounds of negotiations between March 19 and May 5 to convince traders at the Koyambedu to shift to alternative sites. On March 29, Deputy Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam, who holds the portfolio of Housing and Urban Development, told the traders that three sites had been identified for them and he appealed to them to relocate themselves to the new places.

It was only after the market had been identified as a source of infection that the market was closed. “We had functioned in a swift manner and got the alternative market opened on May 10,” the Minister explained.

When the reporters had persistently drawn to Mr Jayakumar’s attention, the observation of the traders that it was the government that had “delayed” in its response, the Minister replied that the charge would hold water had the government not taken steps in the beginning. “But, we had conducted several rounds of talks with them. Initially, the traders were not ready to move out,” he said.

Hastening to add that he did not want to hold the traders or the people responsible for the emergence of the Koyambedu market as a COVID-19 hotspot, the Minister said there was no need for the government to make any sweeping statement against any section of people, as it had been taking a number of steps to alleviate several problems of the people, arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The government could not have resorted to any “drastic action,” as the Koyambedu market handled 5,000 tonnes of vegetables every day. Such an action would have hit farmers and the traders hard, apart from creating the problem of shortage for the people.

Asked about the contention of a section of traders that the confusion about not shifting to the new sites was due to the stand of Member Secretary of Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority D. Karthikeyan who said in late March that the Koyambedu market would function, the Minister felt the statement of the traders could have come from those who were “politically inclined.”

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Printable version | May 30, 2020 8:17:06 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/jayakumar-defends-govts-handling-of-koyambedu-affair/article31592691.ece

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