From briefs to bedsheets and swimwear to silverware, the city’s first Amma markets promise to offer thousands of products at bargain prices. The mayor and his team of officials have prepared an exhaustive list of items to be sold at the flea markets which will come up in several open spaces across the city.
The products will be procured from over 40 government departments, agencies and societies, including departments of agriculture, milk, minorities, Welfare Board for the Narikuravas and Tirupur Area Development Corporation. “We have had two rounds of meetings at Ripon Buildings with officials from other government offices and we have given approval for the shops as suggested by each department,“ said a senior corporation official. “We want to have a minimum of 100 shops in each market.“
The markets will be open from 6am to 9pm. The mayor reportedly wants them to function every day in a different location, while his officials believe it would be better to run them exclusively on weekends. The locations shortlisted so far are Arumbakkam, Kotturpuram and Mint. The superintendent of the corporation’s parks department has been made a nodal officer for the scheme which was announced in 2014. No timeframe has been announced so far for the launch of the markets. Despite the subsidised rates, the scheme will not be a loss for the corporation or those selling their products, an official said. “We will be pricing the products at the original rates that we procure as wholesale from manufacturers or as quoted by private vendors,“ the civic official said. “Comparatively, the rates will be lower than retail prices as supermarkets hike the rates. We want to extend the concept of uzhavar santhai (farmer’s markets) and bring it to cities,“ he added.
Though residents are looking forward to what the markets can offer, development activists are critical of the tight-staffed corporation taking up such schemes. “This shows a lack of focus,“ said Jayaram Venkatesan, convener of anti-corruption movement Arappor Iyakkam. “The government is neglecting the quality of education and health care and taking up business to compete with private agencies. Previous market schemes like this such as converting farmers into entrepreneurs have failed because middlemen reaped the benefits,“ he said.
dinathanthi newspaper 07/07/2016 : http://www.dinathanthiepaper.in/firstpage.aspx