Coronavirus outbreak: Vashi's APMC market to reopen today

Updated: Apr 15, 2020, 07:28 IST | Vinod Kumar Menon | Mumbai

It will be opened in a phased manner; makeshift market at Kharghar to be opened after a meeting following locals' opposition

The APMC market in Vashi was shut after a spice trader tested positive for COVID-19. Pic/Sameer Markande
The APMC market in Vashi was shut after a spice trader tested positive for COVID-19. Pic/Sameer Markande

All markets including those of grains, fruits and spices at APMC, Vashi will start operations from today, a decision that was taken on Tuesday by a high-level committee.

A decision to start the regular controlled supply of vegetables, onions, potato and garlic at the Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) had been taken on Monday and the work of sanitising these markets began on Tuesday.

Confirming the move, Shivaji Daund, Konkan Commissioner said, "We have unanimously decided to keep all the markets open from Wednesday in a phased manner, with strict norms to be adhered to by the transporters, traders and bulk purchasers."

"Only licensed transporters' vehicles laden with grains will be allowed entry. We have decided that every alternate day only the loading and unloading of grains will be done, and only 250-300 vehicles will be allowed. Similarly, the spices market will also be operational amidst strict norms," explained Daund.

Only bulk purchasers allowed
Shirish Badgujar, Assistant Secretary, APMC pointed out that additional CCTV cameras have been installed at the APMC market, so that a check can be kept on crowds. He said with the public address system people will be directed to maintain social distance.

Badgujar added, "We have decided only bulk purchasers – those buying grains over 1,000 kg, onions and potatoes over 250 kilograms, leafy vegetables over 100 bundles and other vegetable above 10 kilograms will be allowed. We won't allow any small retail buyers, to avoid crowd gathering."

When asked about fruits and vegetables, Daund added that a limited number of vehicles laden with them will also be allowed in the APMC market (250-300 vegetables).

He said the makeshift fruits and vegetables market at Central Park, Kharghar will be opened after a meeting with stakeholders and police etc as locals have been opposing it. Elaborating on the planned functioning of Central Park, Daund said, "APMC has constructed around 402 stalls with adequate lights, public toilets and potable water connection for farmers to directly come to Central Park from midnight, and sell their produce to bulk retailers and co-operative housing societies. No individual purchase are to be allowed. The entire area will be sanitised round the clock, and people will have to follow strict social distancing norms, like at the APMC market, even at Kharghar."

"Cooperative societies and their managing committee members (few of them) will have to bring the requirement list for fruits and vegetables, and the local police will check their details, ensure they are wearing proper masks and maintain social distancing. All trucks and vehicles will be parked in and around Central Park at designated locations," he said of the plan.

Interestingly, the APMC committee had spent around R50 lakh to come up with an alternative vegetable and fruit market at Central Park, but due to objection from local residents and the residents' welfare association, the decision is on hold.
With the lock down period extended to May 3, the authorities will have no choice but to utilise the temporary set up at Kharghar, which has been opposed fearing the spread of community outbreak.

Locals oppose market
"Kharghar has already witnessed few positive cases of COVID-19 and with such free entry of vehicles from all over Maharashtra, the lives of common people will be endangered," said a resident. Mangal Kamble of Swach Kharghar Foundation said, "The Central Park opening will be decided on after a meeting with stake holders including the police on Wednesday. We are against the market coming up here."

However, APMC officials have also said that traders and mathadi workers are not interested in travelling all the way to Kharghar, and want to continue doing their business at APMC, Vashi.

Day in April the APMC market at Vashi was shut down

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