In the last one week alone, around 125 positive cases of Coronavirus have been reported from the wholesale market complex alone.
The total number of positive cases under the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) jurisdiction has reached 527 on Friday. But the total cases in Navi Mumbai has crossed 700 including Panvel city and Panvel Taluka.
However, the supply of essential commodities like fruits, vegetables, onion and potato is unlikely to affect as trucks laden with these commodities will continue to arrive and will be directly diverted to Mumbai and other places.
Social media stormed after a sudden rise in positive cases and APMC had emerged as the hotspot of Navi Mumbai. The NMCC administration had been advocating the closure of the market, but it was kept operational to continue the supply of essentials to MMR. Sanjay Pansare, director of Fruits Market said that traders’ associations had written to the secretary of the APMC to close the market for ten days to stop the multiplication of cases.
The decision to close the market temporarily was taken after a meeting held at APMC headquarters in Navi Mumbai on Friday morning. The meeting was attended by Anup Kumar, Secretary, state Marketing Department, Shivaji Daund, commissioner of Konkan division, civic chief, DCP zone 1, traders, porters, Mathadi workers (head-loaders), security guards and local representatives. “All five markets, spices, fruits, vegetables, grain and onion-potato markets will be closed for a week,” said A B Misal, municipal commissioner of NMMC. He added after Saturday operation, the market will be closed till the next Sunday.
In March, the APMC administration had closed the market two weeks due to a lack of safety measures. However, after the state government assured measures, the market was opened. During the lockdown, the market had also seen a bumper supply of over 1200 trucks of the vegetable following which the administration capped a maximum of 300 trucks laden with vegetables allowed per day.
Ashok Walunj, director of the Onion-Potato market said that all the traders, Mathadi workers, office bearers and others will be tested during the one week. “This will also remove the fear of virus among all the stakeholders of the wholesale market,” said Walunj. He added that the civic body will carry out the disinfection of the whole market.
Walunj assured that there would not be a scarcity of essential commodities due to temporary closure of the market. “Trucks will be sent to Mumbai and other places where retailers can buy and sell,” said Walunj.
The APMC Vashi supplies essential items like fruits, vegetable and food grain to Mumbai, Thane, Kalyan, Panvel and Thane.