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Finally, Central Market starts functioning at Kallikudi

Tourism Minister Vellamandi N. Natarajan at a new shop that began functioning at the Kallikudi market complex in Tiruchi on Saturday. S. Valarmathi, Minister for Backward Classes and Minority Welfare, P. Kumar, MP, and K. Rajamani, Collector, look on.M. Srinath

The Central Market for Vegetables, Fruits and Flowers, built at Kallikudi, on the outskirts of the city, to accommodate traders of Gandhi Market in Tiruchi, started functioning from Saturday with a group of traders setting shops at the complex.

Simultaneously, the police started enforcing the ban, notified by Collector K. Rajamani, on entry of lorries transporting vegetables and fruits to the Gandhi Market on Friday night. Retail traders resorted to a protest late in the night as the police prevented entry of smaller goods vans too. Subsequently, vans were allowed to transport commodities to the retailers. The opening of the Central market situated about 12 km away from the city off Tiruchi-Madurai National Highway, marks the end of years of dithering on the part of civic planners over the proposal to shift the Gandhi Market, functioning since 1924 on a five-acre site. The new market, sanctioned by former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa in July 2014, has 830 shops with modern amenities. It was built at an investment of over Rs. 77 crore with financial assistance from the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development.

Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami declared open the market, through video conference in September last year, but it did not become functional as a section of traders of Gandhi Market resisted the move to shift them. Subsequently, the shops on ground floor were made bigger to meet one of their demands. A committee constituted by the district administration had recently allotted 300 shops to wholesale traders of the Gandhi Market from among 1,600 applicants.

Officials of the Department of Agricultural Marketing and Agri Business said about 25 wholesale traders, including some onion traders, moved in with their commodities to start business on Saturday.

Vellamandi N. Natarajan, Minister for Tourism, who opened a few shops at the market along with S.Valarmathi, Minister for Backward Classes, affirmed that change was inevitable if the city were to move on the path of development.

Ms.Valarmathi pointed out that Jayalalithaa had sanctioned the market when she represented the Srirangam Assembly constituency. The Kallikudi market would also serve as markets for banana and onion under the supply chain management (SCM) scheme being implemented in the district, she said.

T. Rathinavel and P. Kumar, MPs, and Mr. Rajamani were present.


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