The Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) located at Vashi has sought details like the number of employees working at traders’ shops after the sudden rise in crimes at the market complex. The details will be shared with the police to be used during the investigation in case any crime takes place within the market complex.
There has been a sudden rise in petty crimes in the last two to three months. Two murders were reported in vegetable and fruit markets. In one case, a porter killed another porter at the fruit market, and in another case, a porter killed a vegetable trader. In both cases, details of the porters were not available, and the police had to rely on CCTV footage and technical analysis to reach the accused.
V S Rathod, Deputy Secretary of APMC issued a circular recently regarding the collection of details of workers/persons living in the stalls/gala/canteens in the market premises which will be submitted to the APMC police. As per the circular, the security department of APMC noticed that in case of any untoward incident/crime on the market premises, the police do not get any necessary information regarding the accused. "As a result, the Senior Police Inspector APMC Police Thane has informed the market committee that there are difficulties in finding the criminals and in the investigation work," stated the circular.
An administrative official from APMC said that the purpose of the exercise is to increase security within the market premises. The wholesale market is spread around 170 acres in sectors 18 and 19 in Vashi and it supplies essential commodities from fruits to vegetables, including grains, spices, and onion-potatoes to the MMR region. As per GROMA, the daily turnover of all five markets is somewhere between 75 and 100 crores. It is one of the largest markets in the state.
Even during the peak of the COVID, the market was closed only for a week once to ensure the supply of essential commodities to the MMR region.
However, the rise in crimes in the last couple of months prompted the APMC administration to ensure the safety of visitors. Around 50,000 people work at the five markets in the APMC complex, including retailers, traders, transporters, porters, and others."Since many traders, porters and other workers stay at night in the market area, it is important for their safety," said the official. He added that there are CCTV cameras at all gates, but the number of people visiting and staying in the market is also high.