CHENNAI: Wholesale fruit and vegetable markets at Koyambedu and Madhavaram continue to be the hub of Covid-19 violations, as most traders and visitors move without masks and fail to maintain social distancing. It comes just a few days after the Koyambedu Wholesale Market Complex (KWMC) reported 50 positive cases recently, after the wholesale vegetable market was reopened last month.
Norms are thrown to wind even as the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA), which maintains the facility, claims it is levying hefty fine on violators.
visit by TOI to Koyambedu and Madhavaram on Thursday found that several customers and traders were standing in close quarters and roaming without masks. At Madhavaram, people were seen using masks according to their convenience with several keeping them at mouth. The situation reflected scenes during pre-Covid times at Madhavaram Mofussil Bus Terminus, where the temporary wholesale fruit market has been in operation since May.
Many unmasked workers were conveniently engaged in regular chores at Koyambedu. The concept of social distancing could not be found anywhere in the market premises. The situation at Koyambedu is similar to that of Madhavaram, though the former attracts more than 10,000 customers and a few thousand employees in wholesale shops, loadmen and traders.
The temporary market at Madhavaram attracts anywhere between 3000 and 4000 visitors everyday. According to official sources, more than ₹15 lakh fine was collected from traders and customers for failing to wear the masks in the past five months.
S Srinivasan, president of Chennai Fruits Commission Agents Association said that it was a reality that such violations are happening. “There cannot be any second opinion on following norms to contain the spread of Coronavirus. We are reiterating to our traders to ensure that there were no violations,” he said.
CMDA sources said that penalty was imposed by Greater Chennai Corporation at Koyambedu and ₹12,000 has been collected from those failing to wear masks.