Residents in some areas have opposed the emergence of temporary markets in their neighbourhoods, apprehensive of the risk they pose of COVID-19 infection.

After the Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC) and the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) closed down the Koyambedu wholesale market, many new markets have been set up for the sale of vegetables and fruits in residential areas. The temporary markets attract huge crowds, causing a scare among residents.

Residents of Virugambakkam opposed the wholesale and retail market on Arcot Road near Virugambakkam bus stop. “These markets have been attracting huge crowds. Our residential area has over 100 senior citizens. The risk of COVID-19 infection from the market is high. So, we request the Corporation to remove these markets,” a resident of Virugambakkam said.

“The markets are a source of livelihood for hundreds of people during the lockdown. One trader in the market offers work for at least 20 people,” said M. Nainar, a trader in the market. “The markets have improved the availability of fruits and vegetables at an affordable cost to residents. We have requested residents to maintain physical distancing and wear masks,” he added.

Corporation officials said they have permitted 65 markets in residential areas. “Over 65 markets in the city have been closed and relocated. New locations have been identified. But we will close those that pose a risk of COVID-19,” an official said.

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