Coronavirus outbreak: APMC market's shift to Kharghar park stalled

Updated: Apr 02, 2020, 08:00 IST | Vinod Kumar Menon | Mumbai

After residents complain of a further risk of the virus spreading, state administration takes back decision; Konkan commissioner says it's just an alternative location

Kharghar's Central Park had been set up as an alternative location for part of the APMC market
Kharghar's Central Park had been set up as an alternative location for part of the APMC market

Even as the Kharghar Central Park is all set for a part of the APMC market to be shifted there, resident associations said that the state administration had given up on the plan because it would increase the risk of further spread of Coronavirus. However, when asked about the development, the APMC authorities said that they had not received any such information and if a decision had been taken, they would be informed about it.

Manghal Kamble, founder president of Swach Kharghar Foundation, a registered NGO in Kharghar, confirmed the development and said, "We have already sent emails to the officials concerned, including the Konkan divisional commissioner, expressing our concerns regarding the spread of virus and chaos as the surrounding areas are densely populated."

"Navi Mumbai Municipal Commissioner, Annasaheb Misal has already resolved the issue and we are thankful to the state administration, including Konkan commissioner, for considering our views, in the larger interest of public," added Kamble.

However, sources within the APMC informed mid-day that the Central Park market should have become operational from April 1 but not a single truck or trader turned up.

Shankar Pingale, director vegetable market, APMC, said, "We are managing the crowd well at APMC market in Vashi, and the government had made arrangements at Kharghar, incase need arises."

When asked if vegetables would continue to be transported to APMC, Pingale said, "We will continue to get vegetables at APMC, Vashi and we have no plan as of now to move to Central Park, Kharghar."

Kharghar market ready
Ramesh Khiste, executive engineer, APMC, said, "The CIDCO has allotted us an open plot of approximately 70 acres at Central Park for setting up temporary vegetable trading outlets. We have erected 402 such open sheds where vegetable trading can be done from 3 am to 10 am." In Kharghar, each marked shed is approximately 1,000 sq feet in area, as against 200 sq feet in APMC. At Kharghar, we have also provided an additional 100 sq feet-wide road between the rows for easy commuting and maintaining safe distance.

"We have also provided LED light connections in each shed, other than making arrangements for common public toilet and potable drinking water connection. The entire work has been done as per the directives from Konkan divisional commissioner," said Khiste.

When asked whether the plan to shift the market has been cancelled, Khiste said, "We have not received any such information from our superiors. And if such a decision has been taken, we will be informed accordingly." Speaking about the expenses incurred in setting up the Kharghar market, he said, "We have spent around R50 lakh for setting up the makeshift market."

Other side
Senior officials from CIDCO informed mid-day, "When we were approached by the authorities for temporarily shifting the market to Central Park, we had given our consent. But the decision to not shift the market has been taken by the administration and the Konkan divisional commissioner."

'Temporary arrangement'
However, Shivaji Daund, divisional commissioner, Konkan, said, "We have kept the Central Park as an alternate location. The BMC has shortlisted two to three different markets to maintain social distancing. We also have a similar set up in place in Kharghar to ensure that social distancing is maintained. This is a temporary set up, and in case APMC gets additional trucks of vegetables, we may shift them to Kharghar. We are still in talks with the mathadi workers, traders and transport unions, and a decision is awaited."

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