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Monday, August 17, 2015

From Pookkadai ~ Kothawal Chavadi ..... to Koyambedu - city shifts !!!

Change is only constant – lots of things have changed – especially the South Indian marriages.  There are so many Marriage choultries in and around old Chennai area in the busy congested streets of Sowcarpet – and those close to 50 and more would reminisce attending marriages of their cousins – going there staying in the marriage hall with all relatives …………. In every marriage - there would be group of busy willing able bodied people [related to / known to bride’s family] doing chores – of which buying vegetables and getting milk to the marriage hall were too important.  Remember those were the days, whence all marriage work were done by the family [no contracts]

At Chennai in Parrys area, there is the Pookkadai [flower bazaar] nearer Kothawalchavadi [once the vegetable hub] – and it was from here vegetable would be bought as it would be cheaper when bought in bulk quantities.  The pookkadai [flower shops] have since shifted to Koyambedu – there still exist many flower sellers in Badrian Street selling marigold, rose, jasmine….. in strands or in kgs.  Walking inside narrow streets would by itself be an experience – there would be so much fragrance around.

The vegetable market was ‘Kothawalchavadi’- in Georgetown [black town of British time] – the narrow streets were  extremely congested, yet people turned up in large numbers, till 1996, when the market shifted to Koyambedu. The market bustled with handcarts, men carrying bags of vegetables on heads, and mini-trucks bringing them in. 

In this area, the temple of ‘Sri KanyakaParameswari’ is famous, it is the temple of Arya Vysya community.  The temple’s website states that  SriKanyakaParameswari temple was constructed at “KooraGayalaThota” in AudiappaNaicken Street, in the year 1720. The ‘KooraGayalaThota’ [Telegu – meaning : vegetable garden]  later came to be known as the Kothwal Chavadi with 850 vegetable shops, the biggest in the city. After the shifting of the market to Koyambedu,  the vacant space paved way for establishment of  a new Women’s College ‘ Sri KanyakaParameswari Arts & Science College’ in 1999. 

Now comes the news that the market now functioning in Audiappa Naicken street, Anna Pillai Street area is to shrink further.  The bustling pulse and spice bazaar  too is about to be moved to Koyambedu to decongest traffic.  Though there are vegetable sellers on the streets in the morning – the main vegetable and fruits market have been relocated to Koyambedu and the pulses too are to follow.  TOI reports that the  traders have been allotted a 14.5 acre wholesale market complex with 492 shops at Koyambedu and have been asked to shift their shops within a week. The complex, built for Rs 70 crore from funds contributed by the traders, was conceived in 2003 and completed in June last year. Though the opening was delayed by more than a year, listed traders have now been issued tokens for their new shops. Also, the warehouses near the old market at Georgetown will be moved to the city outskirts soon and the lorry sheds will be relocated to Madhavaram.

About 2,000 wholesale traders of pulse, cereals, ghee, jaggery and other essentials run their business from KothawalChawadi market. The winding lanes of the pre-independence era market area will be decongested after the shift. The move might benefit some, but sure would hit the loadmen, cart pullers and others who make a living out of the movement of goods.  The narrow lanes at KothawalChawadi would seemingly look impossible to navigate – not for those workmen who would carry good on head or cart them with ease. 

Remember that all mofussil buses used to operate from Broadway bus stand; and Transport Corporation buses to other cities from nearer High Court and MUC – when they were moved to Koyambedu, many small time hawkers and pedlars suffered; so also many hotels in Parrys area.  Change is inevitable ! – sadly, those at lower echelons suffer much when such change sweeps !

Koyambedu Wholesale Market Complex (KWMC) is one of Asia's largest perishable goods market complex located at Koyambedu, Chennai. The market complex spread over an area of 295 acres was inaugurated in 1996.  It abuts Poonamalee High Road and Nesapakkam Road.  It houses vegetable shops, fruit and flower shops.  Now it is to have pulses too. 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

17th Aug 2015.

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