The supply of fruits and vegetables will affect severely next week as the Mumbai Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) in Vashi will be closed from Monday. The decision has been taken after a meeting held among the stakeholders of all three markets on Thursday.
There are five wholesale markets in Vashi APMC namely fruits, vegetables, onion and potato, spice and grain markets. The fruits, vegetables and onion and potato will be closed from Monday.
Fear has gripped among traders after a trader from the spice market was tested positive on Wednesday. The trader, a resident of Sion, is currently admitted to Saifee hospital in Mumbai.
Sanjay Pansare, the director of fruits said that a direction from the government too will come about the closure of three markets. “The fruits and vegetable market will stop functioning from Saturday itself,” said Pansare. At present, the administration had already limited the supply of vegetables to control the crowd.
Narendra Patil, former MLC and Mathadi (head loaders) leader said that the meeting was called in wake of the trader from the spice market testing positive for COVID-19. “It is a serious matter and unfortunately the virus spread in the market, it will be difficult to control,” said Patil. He added that the market will be opened till Monday to clear the stock.
The administration has had a tough time controlling the crowd at the wholesale market especially in the vegetable market. The police personnel had allowed limited access to the market. “Despite the entry of trucks laden with vegetables restricted, the crowd control was a challenge,” said Pansare.
Ashok Walunj, director of the onion and potato market said that there is fear among traders as well as mathadi workers. “We will clear the stock till Saturday and there will be no operation from Monday,” said Walunj.
Meanwhile, Pansare added that since mathahi workers will not come for work, the operation of the remaining two markets—spice and grain—will affect.
The Vashi APMC supplies like fruits, vegetables, food grain and other essential items to Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Thane, Panvel and other adjoining areas. The APMC administration had taken a suo motu decision to close down the market from March 25, following the outbreak of coronavirus across the country. The price of vegetables in the retail market had shot up four times after the APMC market was closed for two days. However, after the state government assured safety measures at the market premises, the administration reopened the market.
Meanwhile, the number of COVID-19 positive patients has reached 31 in NMMC jurisdiction. One more person from Nerul was tested positive on Thursday. Meanwhile, the Panvel Municipal Corporation (PMC) has declared Gharkul, sector-15 in Kharghar as a containment zone after three persons from the area were tested positive to COVID-19. Ganesh Deshmukh, municipal commissioner of PMC said that around 10,000 people reside in the locality and now, the entry to the locality has been restricted.