Coronavirus in Mumbai: Veggie prices soar as supplies plunge due to nationwide lockdown
BL Soni

Amid lockdown across the city, vegetable prices shot up almost four times on Thursday. The reason behind is believed to be the short supply in the wholesale market which was reopened on Thursday on an experimental basis in tight security. Less than 100 trucks loaded with vegetables arrived in the market on Thursday.

The price of vegetables before and after lockdown is almost four times. Cauliflower which was being sold between Rs 20 to Rs 30 per kg last week is now available at Rs 100 per kg. Even tomatoes which would not touch Rs 40 per kg in the whole season due to a bumper crop are now being sold between Rs 60 to Rs 80 per kg.

The Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) administration decided to reopen the wholesale market from Saturday in a phase-wise manner after a marathon meeting attended by traders, Mathadi (headloader) unions and the administration on Wednesday. The market was closed to prevent the spread of coronavirus on March 25.

According to APMC administration, the market was reopened on an experimental basis by following the right procedure to prevent the spread of the deadly virus. Each person entering the market had to wear a mask and cleaned hands with sanitizer, and even their temperature was also checked.

Since the supply was less than 30 per cent of total demand, the wholesale rate of almost all vegetables shot up. Akmal Khan, a retailer from Nerul said that we got all the vegetables at a very high price. “I brought one-fourth quantity what I used to bring due to high price and low availability,” said Khan.

Many residents took to social media after a sudden price rise. Suresh Gopal Das, a resident of Airoli shared price differences before and after lockdown and expressed concern that 20 days are still left of lockdown.

Shankar Pingle, director of Vegetables market in APMC said that the supply of vegetables will improve from Saturday. “Earlier, retailers did not turn up and vegetables lay idle in the market. So, farmers were asked to bring in small quantities,” said Pingle.

However, in many parts of Navi Mumbai, onion prices shot up to Rs 60 per kg. Sanjay Pansare, director of the fruit market, APMC, said there was enough stock of all items and they could meet the demand of the city. “The market was closed due to poor turnout of retailers and vegetables could not be offloaded,” said Pansare.

The Mumbai APMC in Vashi supplies vegetables, fruits and other commodities to Navi Mumbai, Thane, Mumbai, Palghar and as far as Vasai-Virar.

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