Vijayawada

Decentralising and shifting Rythu Bazars to large open spaces is working in Vijayawada

Buyers at the rythu bazar at Makineni Basavapunnaiah stadium in Singh Nagar, stand at a distance from each other, in their respective boxes and move forward in a queue to reach the vegetable stalls, in Vijayawada on Wednesday.

Buyers at the rythu bazar at Makineni Basavapunnaiah stadium in Singh Nagar, stand at a distance from each other, in their respective boxes and move forward in a queue to reach the vegetable stalls, in Vijayawada on Wednesday.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The idea of the Agriculture Marketing Wing is yielding results as panic buying is subsiding

“Move apart to collectively fight the coronavirus” is the unanimous call given from every possible platform by the forces dealing with the dreaded virus.

Rythu bazars in the city that had witnessed unprecedented crowds due to panic-buying in the aftermath of the lockdown have embraced innovation to counter the situation effectively.

Smaller and spread out

Space and de-centralisation of the vegetable markets is what officials of the Agriculture Marketing Wing are looking at. To de-congest these markets, the locations have been shifted to nearby open grounds or more spacious arenas. For instance, the Swaraj Maidan Rythu Bazar has been moved to the Indira Gandhi Municipal Stadium, the one at High School Road in Patamata to the open grounds of the Zilla Parishad High School on the same road, the Bhavanipuram one to the Punnami Ghat on the banks of River Krishna. Two relatively smaller markets at Ajit Singh Nagar and at Payakapuram have been merged for now and put up at the sprawling Makineni Basava Punnaiah Mini Stadium at Ajit Singh Nagar.

“We are planning more such de-centralisations to reduce the size of the crowds. In the next few days, 10-15 more such markets will come up. The idea is to multiply these vegetable markets taking them closer to the buyers and ensure that the crowd is spread evenly,” said M. Diwakar Rao, Deputy Director, Agriculture Marketing Wing.

‘Inside the box’ idea

The space enables the department to keep buyers at distance. Boxes have been drawn on the floor and each buyer is expected to confine to the space while moving forward in a queue towards the vegetable stalls amidst continuous announcement through public address system on the need to maintain discipline. Also, to either cover their faces with a mask or use a handkerchief in view of the highly contagious virus.

Sources said in view of the public demand, the department is actively considering increasing the time limit from the existing 6 a.m. to 9 a.m by an hour or two. “In the first two days, there was panic-buying as most people believed that vegetables would go out of reach in view of the lockdown. But now they seem to understand that the entire process is only being regulated,” said Mr. Rao.

Hurdles, but crossing them

The department is also trying to address hurdles like disturbances in the smooth transfer of the vegetables from farmers to hamalis who bring the loads to the market. “Responding to complaints from the local hamalis that their vehicles are being stopped due to the lockdown, we took up the matter with the police department and have been assured that it will be a hassle-free exercise,” said Mr. Rao, Moroever, barring a small drop, 80 per cent of the farmers are selling their produce at these rythu bazars.

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Printable version | Mar 29, 2020 9:36:33 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Vijayawada/decentralising-and-shifting-rythu-bazars/article31162513.ece

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