Chaos reigns at APMC; threat to life, say traders

Rush: Buyers flood APMC market on Saturday.

Rush: Buyers flood APMC market on Saturday.   | Photo Credit: Yogesh Mhatre

Threaten to discontinue operations

With nearly 1,200 trucks crowding the roads leading to the APMC market, traders unanimously decided to discontinue operations till the lockdown ends. “The crowd is unmanageable and our life is at risk. We have unanimously decided to not trade, but we leave it to individual choice. Each one has the freedom to trade, but most of us have decided to stay at home with our families,” said Shankar Pinglay, secretary of the market.

Usually, the number of trucks that enter the market is not more than 700. On Saturday morning, the roads leading to the market witnessed were clogged. “At least 20,000 people were present at the market with no protection today. We cannot risk our lives every day. The government has directed us to provide essentials and we have kept the market open. But we can’t work like this. There is shortage of labourers too,” a vegetable trader said.

Sanjay Pansare, secretary of the fruit market, said traders are not in favour of continuing operations. “To control such massive crowds, the Army will have to be called in. People are not worried about the novel coronavirus. No one will die if they don’t buy vegetables, they can still survive with pulses and grains. To get rid of the virus, one will have to control their taste buds for some time. This is going to be a long fight.”

Mr. Pansare said the government should declare a financial package for farmers who are facing losses. He said, “If the government makes the provision to run 400 distribution centres in Mumbai, then such crowds can be regulated. Government officers working from home can be deployed to take online orders of 15 housing societies in their area and forward it to the APMC for delivery.”

Meanwhile, Konkan divisional commissioner Shivaji Daund promised to find a way to keep the market functioning. NMMC Commissioner Annasaheb Misal also wrote to Mr. Daund suggesting a strategy to regularise crowds in the market.

Mr. Misal said, “On rotation basis, only 30% traders should work with adequate workers. Not more than 200 trucks should enter the market. Other trucks should be parked at checkpoints. When one truck leaves the market, another should be allowed to go ahead from the checkpoint. Social distancing has to be maintained at all times.”

Mr. Misal also suggested setting up checkpoints for trucks at Digha, Shilphata expressway, Uran, Vashi and Airoli.

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Printable version | May 27, 2020 11:00:05 AM |

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