Nearly 200 flower sellers returned to the flower market on Mettupalayam Road after leaving the grounds of Devanga upper secondary school over the weekend.
Sources within the company and within the seller community said the sellers have returned because the school will reopen for students in Classes X and Plus Two on Tuesday.
The 197 vendors, who returned, included the 144 traders who had rented platform stores and 28 traders who had rented “stalls.” The others were makeshift sellers who paid a toll to the contractor who took care of the upkeep of the market.
Prior to their return, the company had demolished structures the vendors had erected to the side of the road, obstructing access to those who set up stalls there, the sources said and added that if the company did not evict those who had encroached on the road with their makeshift stores, the purpose behind the recent eviction campaign would make no sense.
Because the occupation of the road would continue to hamper the movement of vehicles and facilitate unauthorized parking of vehicles.
The traders also said they asked the Company to waive the rent altogether for the time that the civic body closed the market. Although the state government announced a two-month waiver, in their case that would not be enough as they had only returned to the market now, after a gap of more than four months.
As for the reopening of the new stalls built at the new flower market on the east side of Mettupalayam Road, traders said they understood that the Corporation withheld the allocation of the auction shops due to a legal dispute.
As the Company proceeds with the allocation of stores, it should prioritize allocation to those who could not return to the old market, the sellers demanded.
Company sources said they have asked traders to adhere to physical distancing standards and other COVID-19 security protocols.