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Traders fear repeat of Koyambedu experience at Madhavaram

Even after the uncontrolled crowding that made Koyambedu wholesale market one of the largest COVID-19 clusters in the State, no lessons seem to have been learnt as a similar situation is prevailing at the new wholesale fruit market at Madhavaram with neither the vendors nor the buyers maintaining social distancing.

Traders fear repeat of Koyambedu experience at Madhavaram
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Temporary shops at Madhavaram depot

Chennai

After receiving complaint that the temporary market was crowded, the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) officials shifted a few shops to the first floor recently. However, the market remains crowded.

 “The officials gave permission only for 250 vendors to set up shops in this temporary market. But apart from us, there are many street vendors here selling flowers and fruits. So the public is crowding and not following any instructions by the government. Even the police are unable to control the crowd, as nobody is listening to them. The market is too congested and is difficult to function with so many shops,” said K Jayaraman, a fruit vendor at the Madhavaram market.

 The traders said the public lacked awareness about the risk, pointing out how they do not maintain minimum distance from one another even when the market is not crowded.

 “If the unlicensed shops are removed, there would be more space for us. Also, there is only one washroom for all the traders here,” added Kumaran, another vendor.

 Though the fruit traders do not face loss like vegetable traders at Tirumazhisai market, they too are seeking the reopening of Koyambedu market. According to S Dhanasekar, secretary, Koyambedu Vegetable, Fruit and Flower Merchants’ Association, only 250 out of the 1,500 fruit traders and vendors were given permission to set up shop in the temporary market, leaving others struggling without work. Recently, the traders met CMDA officials regarding reopening the Koyambedu market or allot an alternative space, but there has not been any response so far.

 When contacted, a senior CMDA official admitted crowding in the initial days that they resolved by shifting some of the shops to the first floor. “After that, there was no crowd in the market. We ensure that the customers are maintaining social distance,” claimed the official.

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