Tamil Nadu market downs shutters over Hogenekkal

April 9th, 2008 - 1:38 am ICT by admin  

Chennai, April 8 (IANS) One of Asia’s largest perishable goods markets, Koyambedu, located on the western suburbs of Chennai, remained closed Tuesday as merchants held protests against Karnataka’s opposition to the Hogenekkal drinking water project. “This is the first time in its 11-year history that the market remained closed for a whole day,” N. Srinivasan, an office-bearer of the merchants association that controls the perishables’ trade in southern metropolis, told IANS.

“We were forced to take this extreme step, which affected our sales to the tune of almost Rs.80 million ($2 million). And if the opposition to the Hogenekkal scheme doesn’t end in Karnataka, we may prolong this stir,” he added.

Over 500 trucks that arrived in the market in the morning could not offload goods transported from several states, including Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Gujarat due to the protests.

Sources at the market said the strike was aimed at crippling the flourishing perishables trade in neighbouring Karnataka dependant on Chennai as a tit-for-tat against protests in Kannada. The protests in Karnataka had hit Tamil establishments in Bangalore during the past week.

Around 3,500 outlets here sell flowers, fruits and vegetables on wholesale basis to thousands of small vendors dotting the city.

In turn, the trade also generates a sizeable income for hundreds of light commercial vehicles that distribute the merchandise to dozens of supermarkets.

The cumulative losses may have exceeded Rs.90 million, sources in the retail and transport industries said.

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