It was announced earlier that Koyambedu market, Asia’s largest perishable goods complexes and Chennai district’s main supply of fruits, vegetables, and other perishable goods would down its shutters on March 27 and 28. However, CMDA Member Secretary D Karthikeyan denied the news and stated that the market will remain open on these days.
The earlier announcement caused people to panic since the closing down of Koyembedu would affect the supply of vegetables and fruits that is considered an essential commodity. “While we had initially announced that the market will be closed for 2 days, CMDA member Karthikeyan sir has asked us not to close. We have agreed to it now,” said Rajasekaran Duraisamy, the Koyambedu Wholesale Market Complex Periyar Kaikari Angadi Anaithu Sangankalin Kootamaipu (the federation of association of sellers) President.
“Since this falls under essential services, he ordered that it should not be shut. We will be open as usual,” he adds.
On being asked why the shut down was initially announced, Rajasekaran explains, “We don’t have sales. They have cut down retail sales already so we don't have direct buyers walking in. The police are beating up small sellers on the roads and asking them to close. These are the ones who now buy from us and take it to other parts of the city. Now if they are asked to close, how will we be able to do any business?” he asks.
With the assurance that small scale sellers in markets spread across the city won’t be harassed, thereby ensuring the running of their business, Koyambedu Union’s President says they will now keep the main market open.
When those at Koyambedu market expressed concerns over the spread of coronavirus due to the lack of screening measures at the market, Chennai Corporation announced that it would curb retail selling at the complex, which meant only wholesale was now possible. This reduced the footfall at the market that earlier saw an average of 30,000 to 40,000 people walk in daily.