APMC market in Navi Mumbai to shut, how will city get its supplies

Updated: Apr 10, 2020, 18:31 IST | mid-day online correspondent | Mumbai

Though market insiders feel that the shutdown will lead to a shortage of supplies in Mumbai, Navi Mumbai and Thane, the authorities concerned said that they have supplied sufficient stocks of grain and other essentials to these areas

A vegetable market in Mumbai. Pic used for representational purpose only
A vegetable market in Mumbai. Pic used for representational purpose only

With a spice trader in the APMC market in Vashi being tested positive for Coronavirus, the market committee has decided to shut the perishable sections from April 11 till further notice, which could impact on the supply of vegetables and fruits to Mumbai and the MMR area. The Uddhav Thackeray-led government have already put in measures to ensure that there is no disruption in supplies of essential food items.

The decision on re-opening the markets will be taken after the nationwide 21-day- lockdown period is lifted on April 14. With people not practicing social distancing in the market, the Agricultural Produce Market Committee was forced to take the decision to close the vegetables, fruits, potato and onions markets. The committee was taking precautionary measures such as disinfecting the premises and keeping the market closed on Thursday and Saturdays. According to the sources, the APMC had already clamped down the supply of vegetables in order to control the crowd in the market.

Although the market had decided to shut perishables section along with, spices and dry fruits markets until March 31, the influx of vegetables and fruits from all over the state did not stop. With the declaration of the lockdown by the state and the central government, the committee had to continue the supplies.

Watch Video: APMC to shut after trader tests positive

Though some feel that the shutdown will lead to a shortage of vegetables and fruits in Mumbai, Navi Mumbai and Thane, the authorities concerned said that they have supplied sufficient stocks of grain and other essentials to these areas.

Alternatives

Buying directly from farmers

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and Co-operatives Minister Shree Balasaheb Patil have announced a Direct Sales Scheme for coo-operative Housing Socities in Maharashtra. Under this scheme all the members of Co-operative housing socities can buy their groceries, fruits and vegetable from their homes directly from the farmers. 

Supply at selected grocery shops

As the shutdown would lead to a shortage of grocery stocks in the city, the government has been looking for other temporary arrangements to ensure the supply does not get affected. The state government had suggested asking the Mumbai, Navi Mumbai and Thane municipal corporations to make a list of traders in their respective cities and identify four to five shops that provide essentials including vegetables, fruits grains, pulses that can be sent in packs. Such han arrangement would ensure residents of the area could visit the shops and buy all the groceries they were looking for. In the war room set up by the APMC, one could keep a track on the required orders by the traders as per their needs, which can be supplied to the shops across the city. But for reasons best known to the authorities, the suggestion was not seriously considered.

Curbing illegal grocery hoarding

Even before the 21-day nationwide lockdown was announced by the central government, people had already started hoarding on vegetables, fruits and other groceries. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had then urged the countryman in his televised speeches not to hoarding on essential commodities, with an assurance that the items will be made available to the public. But it is seen that customers have been buying in bulk in order to sustain their groceries till the lockdown period ends. NCP leader Shashikant Shinde had said that there is sufficient stocks in Mumbai, Navi Mumbai and Thane. "Even if APMC is shut down, we will be able to meet the demand. To prevent hoarding of stocks by traders, the food and civil supply department should check and maintain records of stocks in warehouses and cold storages in and around the city and MMR region."

The state on Friday saw 16 new confirmed COVID-19 cases, taking the total number of positive cases in the state to 1380, said the State Health Department. Three persons, including two nurses and a man,  have tested positive for COVID-19 in Dadar. Cases in Thane city rose to 33, as the civic body here identified 15 hotspots to contain the spread of the pandemic, an official said.

(Inputs from Vinod Kumar Menon)

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