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Task force wants Koyambedu market trifurcated to fight virus

Top officials part of the corona task force are working on strategies to bring down the infection rate in the State, including decentralising sprawling markets like Koyambedu wholesale market complex where traders and public visit in large numbers. Another focus area are hospitals, officials said.

Task force wants Koyambedu market trifurcated to fight virus
Koyambedu market


On Monday, Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority member secretary D Karthikeyan and Agriculture Secretary Gagandeen Singh Bedi visited the Koyambedu wholesale market, one of the largest perishable commodities’ market in Asia, and discussed with the traders the possibilities of decentralising the market. There are more than 2,000 wholesale traders in the market complex.

“Shifting a few traders to Madhavaram and Kelambakkam was suggested during the meeting. It will take a few more rounds of discussions to conceptualise the idea. The effort is to reduce the biotic pressure in markets by reducing the movement of the people,” said a senior government official.

The State has not had an explosion in the number of cases except sporadically, and the effort is to bring down the infection rate further. The State’s infection rate, known as R0 in medical parlance, was around 3.6 during the third week of March. Now, it has fallen to below one. However, places like Chennai, Madurai, Tenkasi, Vellore and Coimbatore are recording a steady rise in infection rate. The government is now working out various strategies to reduce the contagion spread in these areas, the official explained.

The measures are being considered after alarm was sounded after vegetable traders were found positive after testing. Three vegetable traders, one each at Poonamallee, Royapuram and Chengalpattu, have tested positive for coronavirus infection. So, the idea is now to test the traders at Koyambedu and protect them, the official said.

The state officials have also asked the police to identify areas where lockdown measures need to be strengthened. Distribution of vegetables through mobile stores is one of the strategies to ensure that people were not moving out of their homes.

“To restrict public movement, we introduced the mobile vegetable sales and Aminijkarai market in Central Chennai was shifted. We are examining the ways to reduce footfall at the markets,” CMDA member secretary D Karthikeyan told DT Next.

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