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Have been allowed to open shops on a rotational basis, say retail traders in Chennai’s Koyambedu

Due to the spike in Covid-19 cases in Tamil Nadu, the state government had earlier imposed fresh restrictions. As a part of the new curbs, fruit and vegetable retail outlets in the Koyambedu Wholesale market complex were ordered to shut down.

Written by Janardhan Koushik | Chennai |
Updated: April 14, 2021 5:15:06 pm
MarketThough they are yet to receive an official order from the government, the traders said that after their recent talks with the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA), which takes care of all the arrangements through a Market Management Committee, 50% of the shops in the area have been allowed to open on a rotational basis. (File photo)

Retail traders in Koyambedu have said that the authorities have allowed them to open their shops, while following certain restrictions, and they were happy with the decision.

Though they are yet to receive an official order from the government, the traders said that after their recent talks with the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA), which takes care of all the arrangements through a Market Management Committee, 50% of the shops in the area have been allowed to open on a rotational basis.

Speaking to indianexpress.com, AM Vikrama Raja, the state president of the Federation of Tamil Nadu Traders Association said the government has agreed to their demands and the official order will be released in a day or two.

“The government has agreed to open 50 per cent of the shops on a rotational basis. The shops will be allowed to operate on alternate days on an odd-even basis as per the shop number. We have instructed our members to follow all the safety precautions.”

He added, “We have limited the number of trucks that can come in with the goods. For example, earlier two trucks would be used to unload goods for six shops, but now only one truck is allowed. Only after it leaves, the next truck would be allowed to enter the area. Traders are happy. They understand that as long as they stick to restrictions, their businesses will run smoothly.

Due to the spike in Covid-19 cases in Tamil Nadu, the state government had earlier imposed fresh restrictions. As a part of the new curbs, fruit and vegetable retail outlets in the Koyambedu Wholesale market complex were ordered to shut down.

Thereafter, close to 500 traders staged a demonstration in front of the management committee office against the government’s decision. They said that their business was already suffering due to the pandemic and if their shops are shut down, it will be a fatal blow to their livelihood.

“If the traders are affected, then farmers will also suffer. There will be a price rise, which will in turn affect the public. So, it’s a chain of events which the government needs to consider,” the traders said.

Last year, 1,800 retail traders in the area suffered a huge loss when the government completely shut down their operations in May 2020 following the discovery of a Covid supercluster. They were again permitted to function only six months later in November last year.

Recently, they were asked to shut down again following the imposition of statewide restrictions to tackle the Covid crisis.

Representatives of the traders’ association have held several rounds of talks with CMDA officials urging them to provide a solution to the ongoing issue. They said they would not be able to set up shop in other areas and do business due to several financial constraints. They also asked the government to allow at least 50 per cent of the shops to function on a rotational basis. The traders said that the officials have now agreed to their demands.

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