A day ahead of the COVID-imposed lockdown, the retail traders and the public thronged the Koyambedu wholesale market and Kasimedu fishing harbour on Saturday. Traders claimed that the business was brisk and customers were allowed in batches adhering to the COVID protocol.
“We witnessed 100 per cent sales as the market was packed with customers for the past two days due to the lockdown. We also received more than 400 vehicles of commodities almost after a month, but there was no hike in the rates. Also, vegetables were sold below Rs 40 per kg, except carrot, beetroot and drumstick, which were above Rs 70 per kg,” said P Sukumaran, Treasurer, Koyambedu Wholesale Merchants’ Association.
To avoid COVID clusters, the market management allowed only those with face masks. Physical distancing was ensured and the people were allowed only in batches. “We allotted time slots for retail traders and the general public to purchase,” said Sukumaran.
At Kasimedu fishing harbour, however, seafood prices were doubled due to a shortage in supply as only less than 30 per cent of trawlers ventured into the sea. “The crowd was more than expected, and people thronged the market till 7 pm. There were police to ensure social distancing and those not wearing masks were slapped with Rs 100 fine,” said Raja Kumar, a fisherman and wholesale trader at Kasimedu fishing harbour.
“The prices were double than usual, as we received only less than 15 tonnes of seafood. Several boats damaged in the recent rains are now under repair,” he added.