Jaffna’s periyakada market dilapidated

The Jaffna Periyakada market which is dilapidated needs an immediate facelift. Even though promises were made by the previous government, a cross section of vendors at the Periyakada market told the Sunday Observer that no action was taken to renovate the market.

Vegetables on sale.

“A large number of people who live at grassroot level and below the poverty line depend on the market- to purchase goods and also to sell their wares. Developing the market is essential. The Government will take necessary steps to develop it”, vendors said.

“The buildings were destroyed during the war but no steps were taken even after the war ended to renovate the market.

Vendors undergo immense hardship to carry on business.”We have enough business but have no proper facilities in the market. This problem must be solved. Certain projects ended at the proposal stage”, Rasadurai Vivekanandan said.

“We are confident that the new Government will extend support to renovate the market or take steps to construct buildings. Now vendors in the market do business in the open air. There is no safety for vendors in the market”, he said.

It has also turned out to be an asylum for stray animals in the night. The drainage system has also been destroyed, he said.

R. Pulendiran who cultivates vegetables and sells them in the market said that he earns between Rs. 15,000 to Rs. 20,000 per day. During rainy days there is a drop in production and as a result prices of vegetable increase.

Almost all areas in the Jaffna district have been developed apart from the Jaffna Periyakada market. At a time when other markets and important places have been developed, this market has been neglected and has received step motherly treatment”, Pulendiran said..

Another vendor said that a large number of farmers from various parts of Jaffna come to the market to sell their products. “We purchase vegetables from Tirunelveli, Maruthanamadam and from some other areas in Jaffna” he said.

“The market was in good condition before the war and was damaged by shell attacks. We hope the market will be brought back to its former glory.

R. Ranjani Thaninayaham Rasadurai Vivekanandan Jaffna Municipal Council Acting Commissioner K Yogendran

Now it operates from temporary tents. The previous Government promised us that new buildings will be constructed but the project was not implemented ” he said.

A vendor said that the remaining IDPs should be resettled in their own land. Then they will begin cultivating.

“Vegetable prices have gone up but it is the farmers who benefit more than the consumers. Income from business is sufficient to manage their day-to-day living. Access roads to the market have been blocked by buildings which in turn have also blocked the drainage system as well. On rainy days the market is inundated with mosquitoes. The drainage system of Periyakada market is in bad condition because of poor maintenance”, he said.

“We would be happy if President Maithripala Sirisena fulfilled his promises and if we were allowed to resettle in our lands, we can resume cultivation. Reduction in the prices of essential commodities is a boon to the underprivileged”. he said.

R. Ranjani said that she supplies vegetables, fruit and fruit juices from Point Pedro and other parts of the district. The income was not sufficient even to pay the supplier.

Ranjani said that her stall was at the rear end of the market and customers made their purchases in the stalls close to the main road, as a result her earnings had dropped drastically.

A red onion vendor

“There is no problem in transport facilities but the living standard has not improved yet” she said.

“Only physical development had taken place in the district and not livelihood development she said.

“We are happy with the price reduction of essential commodities. I think the Government will take steps to implement projects to benefit the people. Sustainable development cannot be achieved only by developing roads and providing electricity”, she said.

“We are confident that President Maithripala Sirisena will take steps to solve the problems of Tamil people”, Ranjani said.

“We are not entitled to bank loans because we have no security. This is not possible. The Government should draft a mechanism to enable people to obtain loans without any security” she said.

A palmyrah yam seller with yam bundles.

Sivamalar Manonmani said that she was doing business with a small capital. She had no access to funds to continue self-employment. She sold yams and other products which are available in the city at a nominal rate. “The Government should solve our problems. I live amidst immense difficulties.

If the authorities provide some relief we can look after our children. I receive only Rs. 1,000 as public assistance. It is not sufficient. Because the income is not sufficient to cover my day- to -day expenditure. I come to the market to sell some goods and earn a living”:, she said..

Ramalingam Thaninayaham said that the capital he had was not sufficient to do business. Like the change which took place in the Government, a change should take place even in the lives of the people.

He said that the market should be built to provide accommodation to a large number of vendors who run the business in the open and were exposed to the elements. “During heavy rains the roof leaks.

As there are no support walls for the market, rain water seeps into the premises severely inconveniencing vendors. At least if the roof is repaired, by calling professionals like Pittsburgh Roofing Company, it would be of assistance to the vendors as well as the consumers”, Thaninayaham said.

When Acting Commissioner and Chief Accountant of the Jaffna Municipal Council K Yogendran was asked about the problems of the Jaffna Periyakada vendors, he said that steps have been taken to solve the problems of these vendors after the new Government came to power. Steps will be taken to renovate the building. All projects will be implemented on a priority basis.He said engineers have been consulted in this regard. Yogendran said “If vendors expressed the shortcomings in writing we will take action with regard to the development of the market”.

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