26 Nov 2021 12:47 PM GMT
Amid soaring tomato prices, a traders association from Koyambedu Market Complex in Chennai has approached the Madras High Court with an assurance that the prices will be controlled if adequate parking facilities are provided for cargo unloading.Justice R. Suresh Kumar, while acknowledging the 'dire situation', agreed to settle the matter on Monday, immediately after admission cases are...
Amid soaring tomato prices, a traders association from Koyambedu Market Complex in Chennai has approached the Madras High Court with an assurance that the prices will be controlled if adequate parking facilities are provided for cargo unloading.
Justice R. Suresh Kumar, while acknowledging the 'dire situation', agreed to settle the matter on Monday, immediately after admission cases are taken up.
The Judge also asked the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority and Market Management Committee to seek instructions by then.
The petitioner, President of Thanthai Periyar Tomato Traders Association, submitted that the CMDA authorities have been refusing permission for the small traders to avail the open space of 84 cents near Koyambedu Market for unloading tomatoes since the market reopened in September 2020. Resultantly, lorries that deliver tomatoes to the market are dwindling for want of open ground parking.
The Court was assured that the soaring prices of the fruit can be brought under control if adequate parking facilities are provided.
Though the petitioner argued that a temporary special arrangement should be provided until the matter is settled, the court declined to intervene without completely hearing the CMDA authorities.
In his plea, the petitioner has also highlighted the plight of small-scale traders with shops of merely 150 sq ft area, who are unable to undertake loading/ unloading activities.
Initially, these small scale traders had access to a godown on a rent basis which was sold last year by the Market Committee. Prior to the pandemic and market shut down, they were using the open space for parking the lorries that transport tomatoes.
The authorities contended that the access was revoked due to the illegal sale of tomatoes happening once these lorries are brought to the open ground.
At this juncture, the court inquired about the plausibility of the traders taking turns to bring a lorry to the open space and unloading the tomatoes in bulk in a limited time, and then leaving the ground in an hour or so. It also said that a toll can be collected from them if the authorities deem fit and consider it as a special arrangement.
"If this limited measure for a limited time period is successful, it may help reduce the price of tomatoes in Chennai", the court noted.
While adjourning the matter to Monday, the court orally observed that the scarcity can be brought under control only by allowing lorries to unload tomatoes in bulk quantity from other states for domestic use.
Case Title: Thanthai Periyar Tomato Traders Association v. Member Secretary & Ors.
Case No: WP/17503/2021 (Local Auth.)
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