CHENNAI: The decision of shifting Koyambedu market to Thiriumazhisai, Thiruvalluar district, outskirt of the city, raises concerns among the people on the further spread of virus in the city. The people demand for decentralization of vegetable market instead of the setting up the market in a single place.
It was on April 27 the first talks on shifting Asia’s largest market to a separate place started with a view to avoiding another spike of virus in the city. But, the local people and rights activist want to ensure the virus will not be spread further as the people converge there to buy vegetables.
According to the merchants, at least 1900 shops including 270 wholesalers are currently in the market. Once all shops will be shifted to the proposed the site, it will be a cause of another concern on the spread of virus.
Arul Viswasam, a merchant at the Koyambedu, says that the authorities have allotted at least 200 sqft space for each wholesale vegetable shop in the proposed site. "It’s not enough for vegetable-laden trucks to take turn. A shop needs to have at least 700sqft for conducting smooth business. Hence, many of the shop owners have not yet taken a call in shifting their shops to the proposed site. We are told the market would be made operational at the Thiriumazhisai by Sunday," he said.
The team of the officials from Corporation administration and Chennai Metro Development Authority (CMDA) which run the Market, had initiated talks with vendors since April 27 and raised the point that physical distancing was going for a toss in the cramped, tiny shops where wholesaling and retailing of vegetables were selling their wares.
‘The same Koyambedu tale will repeat in Thirumazhisai as well if all shops will be shifted to there without providing enough space for sale. The main reason of spreading the virus in Koyambedu was the congested selling place’, says S. Radhakrishnan, a consumer rights activist.
V. Rama Rao, Secretary, People’s Awareness Forum, has echoed the same concern asking for decentralisation of market. He wants to decentralise the vegetable market to all 15 Zones of the corporation, making use of vacant private or public grounds and spaces.
"Small lorry instead of heavy duty vehicles has to be allowed to transport item to these markets. The retailers at the respected areas will have to use small vans and disburse it to local vegetable shops or sell in play grounds with necessary precautions. If a zone is found to be infected by virus only that particular zone is required to be closed. The rest zones can be made functional," he says.
J. Radhakrishnan , who has been appointed as nodal officer to control the virus in Chennai, said that they were looking into all options to decentralise the market in order avoid overcrowding. "The people need not fear about the spread of the virus once the market would be shifted to the Thirumazhisai. The flower sellers have been asked to shift their business to Madhavaram. Now the wholesalers have been instructed to the shift Thirumazhisai," he said....