The much-needed boost to shift the congested Gandhi Market out of the city to a new integrated market in Kallikudi, received a shot in the arm with 150 traders (both retail and wholesale) having applied so far to the agriculture marketing and agriculture business department to avail shops for rent in the new vegetable market.
After initial reluctance, traders in Gandhi Market have started evincing interest in the integrated market facility.
"We have received about 150 applicants including retailers and wholesale dealers from Gandhi Market to avail shop space in Kallikudi Market. This could be a preliminary move to make use of the integrated market space to shift the much overcrowded Gandhi Market," project coordinator, supply chain management, agriculture marketing department, Ka Ilango told TOI.
The department is awaiting a government order (GO) for making structural modification in Kallikudi Market to address the needs of traders who seek bigger space for operation. Once the GO is issued, officials said that two shops could be combined as one in the facility.
Considered as a commercial hub in fulfilling vegetable requirements of 10 central districts, Gandhi Market, a century-old facility situated in the heart of the city has been in dire need of relocation owing to frequent traffic congestion caused in the vicinity. Subsequently, the Trichy district administration in order to decongest the market at an estimated cost of Rs 65 crore took up construction work in 2014 for the market on the city outskirts in Kallikudi on a sprawling 9.7 acre and completed it in mid-2017. Even though the facility was formally inaugurated, traders in Gandhi Market refused to shift their base.
Meanwhile, to spruce up facilities in the integrated market, the department has planned to establish a compost yard near the facility to process biodegradable waste and a cold storage unit to help in the export of perishable commodities from Trichy.
Cold storage facility to accommodate 2,000MT of food produce in Kallikudi Market will be used for focussing on making value added products and also to promote the export potential of perishable food products from Trichy," Ilango added.
On Monday, the facility was inspected by chief general manager of Nabard, S N A Jinnah on Monday since 90% of the project fund has come from it. Further, the department by availing financial support from Nabard has planned to install a compost yard near Mekkudi village for processing the vegetable and fruit waste to make compost.
"Nabard is keen to develop the Kallikudi Market facility rather than utilising it as a market. Since value added products and export of food produce is need of the hour, cold storage facility can be utilised," Jinnah said.
If things go as planned for the district administration and agriculture marketing department, Kallikudi integrated market facility is likely to see traders renting shop space by January 2018.