Fear gripped traders, as well as mathadi (head loaders) workers after a trader from the Spice Market in Mumbai Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) located in Vashi, was found COVID-19 positive. Now, traders are exploring an option to close the market until the situation improves. Traders, as well as Mathadi union, will hold a meeting on Thursday to take a final decision on the operation of the market.
Narendra Patil, a former MLC and union leader of Mathadi workers confirmed that a trader from the Spice Market has been tested positive for COVID-19. However, he added that he had not come to the market since March 21. “We received information that he has been admitted to a hospital in Mumbai and he has been tested positive for COVID-19,” said Patil. He added that now the administration will have to find how many people he had met before he was found positive and admitted to the hospital.”
According to traders from the Spice Market, the trader has a shop in Market 1 of the Spice Market. “I came to know that he had a guest from the US in March at his home and probably he had contracted the virus from him,” said a trader from the Spice market, requesting anonymity.Sanjay Pansare, director of the Vegetable market in APMC too confirmed it. He said, “There is a panic among traders.” However, he did not say anything about the operation of the market. He added that there is a government order to operate the market that they have to follow.
It is recalled that the APMC administration had taken suo moto and closed the market from March 25 following the outbreak of coronavirus across the country. But, after the state government assured safety measures at the market premises, they reopened the market. However, due to excess arrivals of vegetables, there was complete chaos in the market on the next two consecutive days. Thereafter, the administration limited 300 vehicles of vegetable arrival in the market.
If the market is closed, the supply of vegetables and other essential items including grain and spices will affect. The price of vegetables had shot up to four times after the market was closed for two days.