Traders at Koyambedu want the State government to consider allowing semi-wholesalers to function on a rotational basis instead of enforcing a total shutdown as it would severely affect the livelihood of several merchants and labourers.
This demand comes after the government’s directive to close fruits and vegetable retail outlets in the Koyambedu Wholesale Market Complex as part of the new restrictions following the second wave of COVID-19. Such a sudden closure could also lead to a shortage of vegetable and fruits and a rise in prices.
Merchants noted that nearly 1,800 semi-wholesale and retail shops, which were the final segment to reopen after the lockdown in November, were yet to stabilise their business. Another shutdown would severely affect families dependent on them.
G.D. Rajasekaran, president, Federation of All Traders Associations of KWMC Periyar Market, said the traders resumed business after nearly six to eight months. They were not given space at the temporary market in Thirumazhisai.
“Instead of a complete shutdown, the government must consider 50% shops to remain open on a rotational basis. The traders’ body was not consulted before the announcement of the closure. We are planning to hold a traders’ meeting and also meet the authorities concerned on the issue,” he said.
Similarly, fruit merchants also noted that semi-wholesalers were an important link, who sourced fruits such as watermelon, guava and pomegranate. In addition, they said that there was no clarity on the section of the shops to be closed.
The authorities concerned must hold talks with the traders’ body as semi-wholesalers were often affected.
Tamil Nadu Vanigar Sangankalin Peramiappu also opposed the move to prohibit retail trade in wholesale markets without consulting the traders. Only 40% of the semi-wholesale and retail trades had resumed at Koyambedu and another shutdown would have a bad impact on merchants, it added.