The sale of the merchants has taken a hit following the shifting of Koyambedu market to Thirumazhisai that resulted in the visit of fewer customers to the distant market from Chennai.
The vendors, as many as 200, moved to the Thirumazhisai in Thiruvallur district, have been provided at least 250sqft space in the area. But they struggle to attract the customers due to the lack of proper shelter and shortage of labourers to support them with the logistics apart from Covid19 scare.
It was on May 10 the Thirumazhisai market was inaugurated as a result of Asia’s largest Koyambedu market turned into a hotspot for coronavirus infection.
Though it has been over ten days since new market opened at Thirumazhisai, vendors haven’t seen sales picking up so far.
According to the members of the Koyambedu Fruit and Flower Vendors Association, the number of shops came down to 200 Thirumazhisai while around 3,941 shops including wholesale and retail shops of flower, vegetables and fruits, were running in Koyambedu.
S. Sreenivasan, member, Koyambedu Fruit and Flower Vendors Association, says most of the workers who were working with Koyambedu market returned their native places.
More than 20,000 people depended on the Koyambedu market. Only a few local workers are left here.
But most of them are not interested to go Thirumazhisai due to the distance. So we want to get Koyambedu market opened soon’, he says.
In Koyambedu the customers from the other part of Tamil Nadu and neighbouring states often came to buy. Since the Koyambedu became infamous for spreading the virus, people are unwilling to travel to new market.
So less than half the crowd of Koyambedu is now seen at Thirumazhisai taking sales a huge hit’, he added.
Mani Murugaiyan, a fruit vender in Koyambedu, says he stopped business ever since the Koyambedu market was shut. The authorities have not allowed the two-wheelers enter into the market.
No retail business is also banned there. So there is no point opening the shop. Our labourers returned to their native places since they lost their job. Without the required workers, we can’t move things around for wayside selling.
Since Thirumazhisai is at least 30km away from Chennai, the labourers from Chennai are struggling without a place to stay near the Thirumazhisai market’, he says.
Meanwhile, Mr. Sreenivasan alleged that despite Chennai was witnessing steady spike in Covid19 cases the authorities remain indifferent in maintaining social distancing among vendors and customers at Thirumazhisai. No periodic inspection so far since the market opened here.
Not even adequate number of cops is deployed to implement the social distancing norms. I have seen anything different from Koyambedu is taking place here. Better to reopen the Koyambedu market soon’, he says.
The Chief Minister, however, on May 13 had accused the Koyambedu market vendors of refusing to maintain social distancing norms and shift the market as the reasons for the spike of Covid-19 cases in Chennai.