A day after MiD DAY reported about trucks with essential food grains waiting at Vashi’s Agricultural Produce and Marketing Committee (APMC) to be unloaded while the truck drivers whiled the time away in heat, there came some relief on Saturday morning.
Grain market director Jayesh Vora confirmed that unloading of trucks began on Saturday in order to relieve the truck drivers and cleaners waiting desperately on the marker premises for three or more days, due to the traders’ strike over LBT.
Vora confirmed that they could manage unloading grains like rice, dal and pulses from approximately 100 trucks on Saturday and the rest would be done today.
“We understand that the truck drivers and cleaners are being troubled. We felt that at least those transporters who were already waiting on the APMC premises could be relieved if we unloaded their trucks. They could then begin their journey back to the state from where they came, considering that it takes them days to travel back.”
Sources said, 10 lakh kg of commodities (1,000 tonnes) from the trucks were unloaded on Saturday. There are still around 300 trucks waiting in the wings to unload food grains.
Vora added that as far as restarting business was concerned, no decision could be arrived at in the meeting on Saturday. “We have again called for a meeting on Tuesday in order to decide further course of action. Till then no commodities would be loaded into trucks,” said Vora.
On May 11, MiD DAY had reported in its cover story (Scene at APMC: Rotting food grains, desperate truckers) the pitiful condition of transporters who had been waiting at APMC premises in Vashi with the commodities they had brought from states like Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana. The frustrated drivers had complained about having to spend time at the market doing nothing but waiting in the heat due to the protest against LBT, which has sene traders shut shop.
When this reporter inquired about what they do the entire day one of the drivers said that they either play cards or watch movies on their mobiles. “Otherwise we sit and chit-chat. Everyone here gives a different date about when the market will open,” said Sadam Hussain, one of the drivers whose truck has 17 tonnes of dal.
The unloading of spices, lying in trucks at APMC market, has not yet begun.
APMC traders to march to Siddhivinayak
Some traders from APMC market in Vashi, along with their families, will be seen undertaking a foot march from APMC spices market up to the Siddhivinayak Temple in Dadar on Tuesday. Kirti Rana, APMC director, said, “We are not opposed to the government collecting revenue. Our only grievance is that it should be taken through VAT which we are already paying, rather than introducing a new form of licence. We would be undertaking a journey on foot to pray to God that the government understands our condition, and doesn’t burden us with new paperwork.”
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