Hesitation and confusion prevailed among retail vegetable vendors of Gandhi Market over shifting to G. Corner ground as very few traders set up shop there on Monday night.
The few who shifted complained of poor business and claimed that some of the wholesale traders allowed to function in Gandhi Market were resorting to retail trade.
Last week, district officials, after a meeting with representatives of the traders, decided to temporarily shift the retail traders of the market to G.Corner railway ground near Golden Rock.
Following this, lighting arrangements were made at G.Corner ground and a sign board in the name of Tiruchi Corporation was put up proclaiming that both retail and wholesale shops would function there from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m. Visitors were asked to maintain social distance and wear face masks. Failure to wear masks would attract a penalty of ₹200 it said.
Though officials said the temporary market had become functional, very few traders seemed to be ready to move there.“We have issued 900 tokens to traders of Gandhi Market who will be allowed to set up shop at G.Corner,” a senior official of the Corporation told The Hindu.
“There is no other option but to abide by the government order and retail traders have to shift. We have instructed wholesale traders not to resort to retail sale at Gandhi Market,” he said.
On Tuesday morning, senior officials of the Corporation led by Commissioner S.Sivasubramanian inspected the market following which barricades were erected to prevent retail trade there.
Last year, almost the entire the market functioned temporarily out of G. Corner ground for some months in the wake of imposition of lockdown. However, some of the traders were sceptical over the success of the temporary market at G.Corner under the present circumstances.
“I was one of the very few traders who opened shop at the market on Monday night. But there were hardly any buyers. I set up shop with vegetables worth ₹30,000 but hardly ₹1,000 worth of vegetables sold. I had to bring back the stock,” said M.K. Kamalakannan, president, Gandhi Market Vyabarigal Munnetra Sangam.
Pointing out that there were very few city buses to G. Corner, Mr. Kamalakannan said people would hardly prefer to visit the spot to make purchases.
Similar views were being expressed by consumer activists too. “The move to shift retail trade is against consumer interest. The views of consumers were not heard while taking the decision. How can the retail market function in the open ground at G. Corner during the scorching summer?” wondered M. Sekaran, president, Federation of Consumer and Service Organisations.
Mr. Sekaran pointed out that last year only the wholesale market was shifted to G. Corner ground and temporary retail markets were opened at various places across the city, suiting consumer needs.
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