Chennai: Chennaiites thronging Koyambedu market for fruits and vegetables can expect a dip in the prices in the coming weeks as the government cold storage unit, which was in a pathetic state for a long time now, would get a makeover by the first week of April, confirmed Tamil Nadu Cooperative Marketing Federation Ltd (Tanfed) officials. A sum of Rs 2.15 crore has been allocated for the purpose and this is the first renovation since it was established in 1994.
Talking about the restoration of Tanfed officials said, “Post work, though the capacity would decrease by 200-300 metric tonnes (original capacity - 2500 metric tonnes), this facility would have a provision to set different temperatures for different commodities.
For example, while apple needs two degrees Celsius, green chilies would only need 10 degrees. This would ensure longer shelf life.” He further added that the cold storage unit would run of ammonia refrigeration. Though, it is an old technology, it is environmentally safe.
Due to its poor maintenance, vendors resorted to personal mini cold storage units in their own shops or private units, mainly on Poonamallee high road. “It costs anywhere between Rs 25 and 30 to store one kg of fruit or vegetable. Each vendor stores about 1,000 kg, meaning, each vendor can save at least Rs 30,000 per product once the cold storage unit opens and certainly the price would plummet,” said G.Narayanan, a fruit vendor at the market.
The sellers said the move came in the aftermath of the rule by collector saying the structure of shops at Koyambedu cannot be altered by setting up cold storage units and they have to be shut down immediately. But when workers protested against the poor maintenance of the facility it was renovated.
Vendors also suggested Tanfed authorities that they must allow only perishable goods to be kept inside the unit unlike before when it was used to store dry coriander seeds and red chillies.
(With inputs from Veera Sennu Krisna)...