The Tamil Nadu Vanigar Sangankalin Peramaippu (All Traders Body Association) has demanded that the state government immediately reopen all markets that were shut down as part of efforts to control the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a petition, the traders' association stated that the refusal to open markets was leading to huge losses for its members and would also result in an increase in prices of essential goods.
State president of the association AM Vikramaraja submitted the petition to the Chief Minister on Monday at the Secretariat. In the petition, traders have demanded that Chennai Koyambedu market, Trichy's Gandhi market, Vellore's Nethaji market and similar markets in other districts along with flower and meat markets be reopened in the state.
The traders suggested that necessary regulation and protective measures be put into place in the market areas to prevent spread of the coronavirus. In Chennai, failure to follow physical distancing and other regulations in the Koyambedu market had earlier led to rapid spread of the disease, which proved to be a huge blow to efforts in controlling the pandemic.
Following this, all trade was shifted to the Thirumzhisai market, but traders are unhappy with the current situation.
In the petition, the association points out that recent rains have resulted in the market turning into sludge and slush, therefore causing problems for vehicles to come in and collect produce. They said that even regular buyers and sellers were unable to come in and carry out purchases.
As a result, they said that traders were facing huge losses and produce that had been procured was just rotting. Moreover, farmers who come to sell their produce were also unable to do so. Due to the shortage in supply, it is likely that the price of vegetables and fruits will rise across the city.
They further pointed out that other markets in the state were also facing similar situations with traders having to cope with huge losses and pay more, to transport their goods.
"We want the markets to be opened," Vikramraja told reporters in the Secretariat. "Traders across Tamil Nadu have been cooperating with the government but have lost their livelihoods. The market in Chennai (Thirumzhisai) doesn't even have basic facilities and there are several problems there. Traders are scared and don't want to even enter the market."