Commercial establishments in Chennai warned on Covid norms

The Chennai corporation has warned shops and other commercial establishments that they will be forced to shut down if Covid norms are violated. The corporation has pressed into service the monitoring committees which it had constituted during the peak of the pandemic last year.

The Covid cases have been spiralling up in the state capital with 2,000 cases being reported on Sunday.

An assessment by the Civic body has found that the crowding is rampant at the 81 markets in and around the city other than Koyambedu wholesale market and therefore decided to put curbs in these areas.

The monitoring committee which will oversee the functioning of the shops and commercial establishments include an Assistant Engineer from the City corporation, a Sub Inspector of Police, members from the market, health department and transport department. A special monitoring team will also be in force other than the monitoring committee which will be constituted of personnel drawn from the revenue department and the disaster management department.

The major challenge, however, will be to monitor the Kashimedu fish market which has more than 24,000 fishermen working out from the market. The Greater Chennai corporation Commissioner G..S. Prakash has already reached out to the fishing community in Kasimedu and a system is being formulated without affecting the fishermen’s livelihood.

Alphonse Thomas, a fisherman from Kasimedu market while speaking to IANS said, “Controlling Kasimedu market may be required to prevent the spread of Covid but we must be shown alternatives. This is affecting the livelihood of several thousands and the corporation is working out the finer points regarding monitoring the market.”

The government had last year tried to regulate the working of Kasimedu market by making the market off limits for the public and allowing fish vendors only. Small and medium fish vendors were allowed in the market last year in batches of 150 each and four such batches were allowed in turns. After one batch finished the purchase, the other batches were allowed. The City corporation is now trying to implement a similar system for the Kasimedu market taking into consideration the livelihood of the fishermen.

Another measure to be taken by the Corporation is to maintain strict vigil over those who are not wearing masks. A team has been constituted with a senior IAS officer leading the team. The corporation has already announced a spot fine of Rs 200 if anyone is found not wearing a mask in the city but there has been laxity in enforcing this. The Greater Chennai Corporation administration has now decided to be more strict in implementing the fine and to monitor those not wearing masks.