Navi Mumbai: APMC markets to open on Monday, but with restrictions
Unloading of supplies will be staggered to prevent crowding, all who enter the market will be screened and disinfected
Three out of APMC's five markets—grain, vegetable, and spices—will be operational from Monday. The onion/potato and fruits market will be operational from May 21.
The Vashi market, which has been shut since May 11 after over 130 positive cases of Coronavirus were reported from among its workers, is the main market from where Mumbai, Navi Mumbai and Thane, get their food, fruit and grain supplies.
The decision was taken at a meeting attended by senior officials such as Konkan Commissioner Shivaji Daund, APMC mathadi union head and elected member Sashikant Shinde along with NMMC and APMC officials in addition to police officials from Zone 1, Navi Mumbai Police on Saturday evening.
Vijay Bhuta, director, spices market, said, "The markets will be allowed to operate under strict norms. Only 300 grain trucks will be allowed to enter APMC market on three days of the week—Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Delivery of grains will be conducted on Monday, Wednesday and Friday."
Bhuta added, "As far as the spice market is concerned, there is no restriction and it will operate as before. We are permitted to get 200 vehicles per day, and the vegetable market will be allowed 150 truck loads of produce." On Saturday, two traders with a gala in the spice market, tested positive for COVID-19. Since they have not been coming to the market for the last few days, the test results will not have an impact on other traders, said Bhuta.
Ashok Walunj, director, onion and potato market, said the market would get its usual supply of 100 truckloads while the fruit market would be allowed 200 truckloads when the market opens. "Only licensed retailers and pass holders will be allowed entry after they undergo screening and are disinfected." He added, "It was unanimously agreed upon that private bus services would be arranged for getting mathadi workers and traders from different parts of Mumbai, Thane, Kalyan-Dombivli etc."
Shirish Badgujar, assistant secretary, APMC Committee, said, "Between May 11 and May 16, all the galas in the market have been sprayed with disinfectants. We have screened over 3,000 traders and workers, including truck drivers and cleaners. The APMC police were also screened and we have not come across any positive case."
Bhuta added, "It was also agreed that those who have tested positive, but haven't come to the market, cannot be attributed as cases linked to infection spread in the market."
Mangal Kamble, founder president of Swach Kharghar Foundation said, "The onus should be on the APMC committee to ensure that essential vegetables, fruits and grains should be sent to the MMR region, well in advance so that demand is met. This they can still continue doing, by taking orders online or through phone, instead of allowing the market to be made operational for the public at large."
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