Wholesale fruit merchants staged a protest at Madhavaram market on Friday against re-allotment of some of the shops on the first floor of the building. They instead sought to continue to trade on the ground floor on alternate days. Merchants complained that they would not be able to carry out trade on the first floor as the produce would soon perish when exposed to direct sunlight or rains.
On Friday, the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority officials had drawn lots to reorganise shop allotment to ensure better physical distancing norms at the market. However, traders claimed that they were not informed about the decision. They suggested that shops could be instead divided as batches and made to function on alternate days.
On an average, the market received about 1,000 tonnes of fruits daily. C. Angalan, president, Chennai Koyambedu Anna Fruit Market B4, B5 Shops Vendors Welfare Association said though there was resistance initially among the wholesale traders, they moved into the space allotted later.
Of the 875 shops in Koyambedu market, only 250 merchants were allotted space at the Madhavaram market. “We have already been functioning in the small space allotted and sourced less than half of the produce for sale. We have made representations to the authorities about alternative measures that could be implemented,” he said.
According to an article on thehindu.com, traders complained that they were not consulted about the drawing of lots and were informed only a few hours prior to the measure.