Some workers have conveyed reservations about continuing operations at country’s second largest mandi for fruits and vegetables, after Azadpur in Delhi.
After a trader from the wholesale spices market of Vashi Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) tested positive for Covid-19, the Mumbai Agriculture Produce Market Committee has decided to keep the perishables as well as onion and potato sections of the market shut from Saturday, till further notice.
Foodgrains and malasa markets shall, however, remain open.
Vashi APMC mandi is the second largest in the country for fruits and vegetables, after Azadpur near Delhi.
In a circular issued here, the secretary of the market committee stated that since an atmosphere of fear now prevails in the market due to the increasing cases of Covid-19 infections and in view of demand from the Wholesale Vegetable Traders Federation, Front of United Fruits Association and Kanda Batata Adat Vyapari Sangh (KBAVS) for a market closure, “the perishables segment will remain closed, effective April 11”.
Although the government had announced a lockdown till April 14, the mandi was kept open to ensure smooth supply of essential goods for consumers. Onion, potato, fruits, vegetables, foodgrains and masala segments were functioning normally.
The KBAVS had earlier decided to keep this section of the market shut from April 13. The Mathadi workers have decided to continue work until Saturday and take a decision while the malasa market traders have gone for a voluntary lockdown.
Kirti Rana, chairman, Navi Mumbai Merchants Chamber and trader at the masala market at Vashi, said that 600 shops of the masala market have gone for a voluntary lockdown.
Mathadi leader Narendra Patil said that the headload workers have decided to keep working till Saturday and then a review will be taken on the further steps to be taken. Patil said that the workers are in fear since the trader has tested positive. More importantly, the social distancing norms are not being followed by the people visiting the market, he said, alleging that the market is operating in unhygienic conditions.
Madan Kale, a trader at the market, pointed out that the Covid-19 positive patient from the masala market had not come to the market after March 22. “He has been discharged from hospital and has been asked to quarantine at home for 14 days,” he said.
Rajendra Shelke, president, Kanda Batata Adat Vyapari Sangh, had earlier written to the secretary of the Mumbai APMC stating that they would keep the onion and potato sections of the market shut from April 13.
Meanwhile in Pune, with both the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) as well the district administration deciding to completely shut down Kondhwa and parts of the (residential) area around market yard – the major wholesale mandi in Pune, the traders’ and workers’ unions have sought market closure from April 10 till further notice.
The Chhatrapati Shivaji Market Yard Adate Association and the Chhatrapati Shivaji Market Yard Kamgar Union have already jointly conveyed their reservations about continuing operations with the threat of Covid-19 spreading and both the bodies in separate letters to Dr BJ Deshmukh, the administrator of the APMC, stressed on the fears of infection as crowding at the market is inevitable.