Gandhi Market traders to observe indefinite fast

They want the market to be reopened immediately

An indefinite hunger strike has been planned by vendors attached to Tiruchi Gandhi Market All Kinds of Wholesale and Retail Traders Association demanding the reopening of the Gandhi Market.

The move comes in the light of an upcoming hearing of a batch of petitions filed in connection with Gandhi Market’s closure and shifting of the vendors to the Central Market for Vegetables, Fruits and Flowers at Kallikudi. It is to be heard by the Madurai bench of the Madras High Court on November 26.

A public interest litigation petition stating that the congested market would turn into a hotspot and lead to rapid spread of COVID-19 led to the closure of the market amid the lockdown . “Even the Koyambedu market in Chennai, which was a major source for the spread of the infection, has been allowed to open. Markets across the State are functional. Yet, the district administration and the government is colluding to keep us out of our place of business,” said association president Ve. Govindarajulu at a meeting of all traders held in the city.

While the hearing at the High Court, vegetables, fruits and flowers had gone to waste, Mr. Govindarajulu said. “The temporary markets, including G. Corner Grounds, have no shelter and is not a permanent solution for our traders,” he claimed.

At the meeting, the vendors decided that they would refuse to sell vegetables or fruits anywhere in the district from 6 p.m. on November 24. They would do business only if the hearing was in their favour. “No vegetables will be sold until we get justice. The market is our place of work and we will not go anywhere else, come what may,” a trader said.

The traders also decided to launch an indefinite hunger strike along with their families from November 27 if they did not receive positive results in the hearing.

“We will man the roads of the city and ensure that no vehicles carrying vegetables are able to enter. This is to show how important our market is to the people of Tiruchi and why it is important that we stay at Gandhi market," said Mr. Govindarajulu.

The vendors were not willing to negotiate with district authorities and demanded concrete action, he added.

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