Vashi's APMC market will be shut for seven days
APMC Market to remain open this Saturday and Sunday to allow grocers and others in Mumbai and other neighbouring areas to stock up on supplies.
A day after former Navi Mumbai mayor Jayawant Sutar threatened to take the matter of increasing COVID-19 cases at Agricultural Produce Market Committee market in Vashi to the higher-ups, officials at a high-level meeting unanimously decided to shut it from May 11 to May 17.
All five markets — vegetable, fruit, grain, dry fruit and spice — will remain shut from Monday till the lockdown ends. The market will remain open this weekend. NMMC Commissioner Annasaheb Misal, Maharashtra principal secretary (marketing) Anoop Kumar, IAS officer Sanjeev Jaiswal, Konkan Divisional Commissioner Shivaji Daund, APMC police officers and APMC traders were at the meet on Friday afternoon.
Daund told mid-day, "We will carry out extensive spraying of disinfectants during the shutdown and the APMC staff, including traders and APMC police, will be screened and tested. We will hold regular meetings through video conferencing to understand the momentum of work." He added that they will review the matter on May 15 to decide on a phased reopening or extension.
APMC Secretary and Administrator Anil Chavan, who also attended the meeting, said they decided to close the markets to contain the spread of COVID. "We will keep the market open this Saturday and Sunday so that essential supplies could be stocked for 10 days in Mumbai and neighbouring areas."
mid-day had, on Friday, reported about the Sutar, whose term as the Navi Mumbai mayor ended recently, demanding that market to be shut.
"I was going to write a letter to the central health team, too, but I am now informed that at a high-level meeting a decision was taken to shut the market for a week. It is evident that not only traders, but even their staff, and APMC mathadi workers were at high risk as they visit the market daily. Also, we have learnt that some APMC staffers would have had to take voluntary retirement had the market remained open. The traders are already terrified," he said.
Sutar added, "Had the government wanted they could have made an amendment to the existing APMC Act, and allowed him to continue as the mayor. But, they allowed the administrator and APMC to take the decisions."
Vijay Bhuta, director, APMC Spices Market, said there were only eight cases at the masala market so far. "Majority of the positive cases were reported from other markets in APMC." "Residents living around the market were concerned about the increasing number of cases," he added.
A resident of Turbhe village said, "On Friday, two more positive cases were reported in the village and both men worked at the APMC market. We have requested Turbhe and Kopri villagers to not allow APMC staffers in their locality to venture out." Sutar said he has raised the concern about people travelling to and from red zones.
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