2 am yesterday, four persons arrived at the Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) bazaar and started shouting slogans. Trading had just commenced, but the quartet demanded owners close down their shops, citing Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray’s condition.
Traders immediately informed police. “Vegetable supplies had started arriving at the market when these goons came in and began screaming out slogans. They forced us to close our shops. We complied to avoid any untoward incident and informed the APMC market administration,” said a trader, who did not wish to be named.
APMC police station was apprised of the situation and the goons were taken into custody.
“We detained the goons after the APMC market management informed us. We warned them and later let them go,” said an official from APMC police station.
The chaos led to a decline in supply of vegetables to the market as many farmers chose to keep their trucks off the roads fearing the vehicles might be targeted by anti-social elements.
Only 328 vegetable trucks arrived at the market yesterday as opposed to 550-600 on other days. Also, as many local transporters did not ply their trucks, just 124 of these vehicles carrying vegetables went to retail markets in Mumbai from the APMC bazaar.
Avinash Patil, deputy secretary of APMC market, said, “We do not get sufficient supplies during Diwali, since cultivators generally avoid going to their farms at this time.
However, the current political situation has apparently forced transporters to stay off the roads. So, we have witnessed less trading today.”
APMC officials anticipate a further fall in supply of vegetables over the next two to three days, given the perceptible uncertainty over Thackeray’s health. Consequently, prices of vegetables are likely to remain high at retail outlets.