The Koyambedu Wholesale Market Complex, among the biggest market complexes in Asia, is in a shambles during the rainy season causing undue hardship to wholesalers, consumers and retail vendors.
On Monday, residents purchasing vegetables, fruits and flowers were forced to wade through the stagnant rain water that had formed huge puddles in many parts of the complex. While traders and consumers blamed the officials for failing to take up maintenance works regularly, traders added that whenever it rained, it compounded the problem and was a factor in the rise of vegetable prices.
Though the market complex is maintained by Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA), members of Market Management Committee (MMC) alleged that the CMDA officials do not take up precautionary measures before the onset of the North-East monsoon, with the result that during a spell, rainwater entered the floors of the complex, damaging the stock of fresh vegetables.
V R Soundararajan, member, trade association, Koyambedu Market Management Committee said, “Officials do not care about any of the issues regarding the market complex. Even though 30 security personnel have been appointed, not much is being done. The big complex lacks lighting facility and it is pitch-dark during night time.” After the recent spell of rain, officials have neither drained stagnant rainwater, nor have they sprayed disinfectants, he added.
A cow forages near stagnant water, The flooded road to the market.
M Thyagarajan, another committee member and president, wholesale trade association, recalled that the Madras High Court had directed the Member-Secretary of CMDA to examine the recommendations of the committee and draft a plan to make available civic and other essential facilities at the Koyambedu Wholesale Market complex.“Whenever we raise issues about basic amenities and pumping out rainwater during the rainy season, we are projected as miscreants by CMDA officials. Further, the officials target the representatives who raise the issues,” he alleged.
K Nathan, a small vendor who regularly purchases vegetable from Koyambedu, said, “We can boast that Koyambedu market is a huge one, but maintenance is very poor. With the price of vegetables already going up, there is a high possibility of further increase, as rainwater damages vegetable and fruits.”
Meanwhile, consumers are furious. “A market of this size has become a breeding ground for mosquitoes, as rainwater is stagnanting. I may have to stop purchasing vegetables in this market till monsoon ends,” said K Manickam, a resident of Virugambakkam.
Officials refute allegations
When contacted, T R RajanBabu, Assistant Executive Engineer, Market Management Committee, Koyambedu Wholesale Market Complex, CMDA, refuted the allegations made by traders and representatives. “During the monsoon season, we work round-the-clock and it is a fact that whenever there is a heavy spell of rain, rainwater seeps into the floors of the market complex. Sunday’s heavy rain entered the flower market complex and still we are pumping water out,” he explained. When asked about renovation works, the AEE said they are planning to carry out renovation works after rainy season is over.
Primary functions of MMC
- Day to day maintenance of the market complex like garbage cleaning, water supply, sewage system, electric maintenance, public toilets and traffic regulation
- Levy and collection of registration fee and issue of registration certificate to the shops
- Levy and collection of licence fee and issue of licence to the shops
- Providing security facilities to the market complex