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Koyambedu Market is emerging bigger Covid hotspot than Tablighi Markaz

The Koyambedu Market is one of the largest wholesale markets of flowers, vegetables and fruits in Asia

Friday May 15, 2020 11:43 AM, Syed Ali Mujtaba

Koyambedu Market

Chennai|: With 2,500 (primary and their contacts) testing positive at Koyambedu Market cluster, in the overall tally of 9,674 Covid cases in Tamil Nadu, this one cluster having Covid linkage is emerging as bigger hotspot than Markaz that became a national calamity in the last week of March, 2020.

With 2,500 cases emerging from one cluster it is quite an alarming figure but no national media wants to point at it with its guns blazing and likes to soft peddle this news because it has only juice and pulp fiction in it.

As huge spike in infection numbers from Koyambedu Market cluster came to lime light when traders, customers, delivery persons, truck drivers and others associated with the market started testing positive. The numbers added when hundreds of those who went back to their native places after visiting Koyambedu Market and were also found positive.

Authorities in Cuddalore district discovered 12 positive cases and at Villupuram 13 cases, all had Koyambedu connection. When hundreds of coronavirus cases started emerging having Koyambedu Market linkages the Tamil Nadu government decided to close the market.

The Koyambedu Market is one of the largest wholesale markets of flowers, vegetables and fruits in Asia. The market complex is spread over an area of 295 acres and consists of about 3,100 shops, including more than 1,000 wholesale shops and 2,000 retail shops. Set up in 1996, the complex directly employs 20,000 people and about same number of persons frequent there daily during normal days.

The Corona cases at Koyambedu Market were not detected during the first and second lockdown period due to the lack of testing facilities. But in the last phase of the lockdown 2.0, when the testing kit was made available a single Corona cluster was detected at the market and was ordered to be closed.

Media reported, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami blaming the wholesale vegetable and fruit traders for the expanding Koyambedu Market Covid cluster. He said the traders “stiffly opposed” the move to close down the market.

“However, when the spread of the disease from the Koyambedu Market became alarmingly high, I decided to close it down,” the Chief Minister said.

To this, a member of ‘All Vegetable Associations Action Committee,’ Ram Mohan denied the government’s claim that the market is responsible for the spread of Corona virus. “Actually proper measures were never taken by the government in the last 45 days or so and the market was hardly disinfected during the lockdown period", he said.

Whatever may be reason. But, the Corona cluster at Koyambedu Market that is bursting does not attract the headlines of the national media as the news of Tablighi Jamaat Markaz-Covid link did when a particular community was vilified for weeks together accusing them for the spread of Corona virus in the country,

Since there is no Communal angle to this Covid-19 explosion at Koyambedu Market and as such it does not have the same impact factor as the Tablighi Jamaat Markaz story.

One wonders what Union Minister for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi have to say on Corona-Koyambedu connection as earlier he had commented that if the Tablighi Markaz-Coronavirus link had not taken place, the Covid cases may have been much less in India.

Meanwhile, we remain firm on our opposition to such blame game and hate mongring that too to hide one's own failure and to avail political mileage.

[Syed Ali Mujtaba is a journalist based in Chennai. He can be contacted at syedalimujtaba2007@gmail.com. Views expressed are personal.]

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