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Traders adamant, Gandhi market relocation falls flat

Trichy: The proposal to shift the wholesale vegetable and fruits shops from the congested Gandhi market to the integrated vegetable market at Kallikudi on the city outskirts has fall flat. While the integrated vegetable market built at an estimated cost of Rs 77 crore has not started functioning even after its inauguration, it seems that the vegetable traders are in no mood to move to the facility. Even as 300 wholesale traders were identified and allotted shops, the integrated market is yet to see the light of the day.

In July 2014, to decongest the city, the state government had proposed a plan to establish an integrated vegetable market for wholesale traders in Kallikudi on Trichy-Madurai NH. After fighting the legal hurdles, the 10-acre facility was completed by agriculture marketing and agriculture business department in September 2017. Though the department has identified 300 wholesale traders and provided them the keys of the new shops, a majority of them have refused to shift to the integrated market. The integrated market was opened on June 30, 2018, but except for that one day, the Kallikudi market remained closed till today. While the state-of-the-art facility built through Nabard’s financial aid remains unused, the traders in Gandhi market have made it clear that they are not moving out of the centuries-old market.

"Land cost is too high for us to build a market on our own, and we are determined not to occupy the integrated vegetable market in Kallikudi. Wholesale traders will stick to the Gandhi market come what may," M K Kamalakkannan, president of Gandhi Market Vegetable Traders Association told TOI. A lot of efforts put up by the district administration such as restricting the movement of heavy vehicles to decongest Gandhi market went in vain. Sources said that the vegetable traders have political backing due to which authorities are unable to take strong measures in utilising the multi-crore facility. "A section of the traders were allotted 300 shops but they did not occupy the facility as their business would be affected if a section of traders continues their operations in Gandhi market. They believed that customers would not visit the integrated market. We are clueless on what to do next." an official source said.


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