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'Interim Measure To Bring Down Soaring Tomato Prices Necessary': Madras High Court Permits Temporary Parking For Koyambedu Market Traders

Sebin James
29 Nov 2021 11:10 AM GMT
Interim Measure To Bring Down Soaring Tomato Prices Necessary: Madras High Court Permits Temporary Parking For Koyambedu Market Traders
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The Madras High Court has instructed the Koyambedu Market Management Committee and Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) to earmark a specific area for licensed tomato traders, so that they can load/ unload the perishables that are transported via trucks within the market itself. Justice R Suresh Kumar also allowed the respondent authorities to monitor the traders who...

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The Madras High Court has instructed the Koyambedu Market Management Committee and Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) to earmark a specific area for licensed tomato traders, so that they can load/ unload the perishables that are transported via trucks within the market itself.

Justice R Suresh Kumar also allowed the respondent authorities to monitor the traders who bring trucks to the allotted vacant ground for unloading and ensure that they don't indulge in any wholesale/ retail trade there.

Traders who undertake such activities can be denied permission by the Market Management Committee to bring any more trucks.

"The Respondent authorities are to earmark 1 acre vacant land specified in para 5(f) of the status report for parking the vehicles carrying tomatoes, unloading the cargo, and reloading the empty boxes only to licensed tomato traders of Koyambedu market."

The development comes in a petition moved by the traders aggrieved by inadequate parking facilities for cargo unloading. They had assured the Court that the soaring prices of the fruit can be brought under control if relief is granted. 

Today, the Court directed the Managing Committee to allow the trucks a reasonable time for unloading once it enters the parking ground. The court also mentioned that the benefits of this special arrangement will apply to all licensed tomato traders, and not just the licensed traders of the Petitioner Association.

The original writ petition was filed on the grievance that the respondent authorities were denying the small traders permission to avail the open space of 84 cents near Godown No.124 since the market reopened in September 2020. Resultantly, lorries that deliver tomatoes to the market are dwindling for want of open ground parking. When the petitioner requested that a temporary special arrangement should be provided until the matter is settled, the court found it judicious to wait for the report by CMDA and Market Management Committee.

"If this limited measure for a limited time period is successful, it may help reduce the price of tomatoes in Chennai", the court had then noted.

When the status report was turned in today, the court observed that the truckload quantities of tomatoes brought to the market and the price rates of Grade I/II/III tomatoes from 19th November till 28th November has been listed.

The counsel for Management Committee submitted that there are already many vacant places inside the market complex though the vacant place (84 cents land) asked for in the original writ petition cannot be given. He also submitted that the petitioner's request for the same was misconceived since the area of that particular vacant land has now shrunk to 24 cents. Hence, its not feasible to allot the said land for tomato traders, the counsel informed the court.

The vacant ground earmarked for the traders is a stretch 30 Meters away from Gate 14 of Koyambedu Market. On the petitioner association's initial submission that the earmarked land, which has an area of 3 acres, have been pre-allotted for other vegetable traders, the court asked the authorities to clearly demarcate at least an acre out of the said area for tomato traders so that they can bring in 40-50 trucks a day easily.

"In so far as the issue in the original writ petition is concerned, the court is not going to decide the matter until further hearing. The current purpose would be to tide over the present hike in tomato prices through an interim measure. The main reason for such price hike is the incessant rains. If more lorries are brought in carrying tomatoes for sale, it will be beneficial for the general public", the court noted in the order.

Hence, the court has also made it clear that this will be a temporary arrangement for the next four weeks starting tomorrow. If the experimental step pays off, final arrangements will be made after four weeks.

The court has also asked both the parties to file a report after two weeks about the effectiveness of the arrangement made.

The Market Management Committee has been asked to allow the traders for unloading the tomatoes coming inside trucks from 4 am tomorrow morning.

Case Title: Thanthai Periyar Tomato Traders Association v. Member Secretary & Ors.

Case No: WP/17503/2021 (Local Auth.)

Click Here To Read/ Download Order


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