The government of Maharashtra has decided to shut the Vashi Agricultural Market Committee (APMC) in Navi Mumbai for a week to prevent the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus which has reported many infected cases. The supply of vegetables, fruits, and grains will be stopped from May 11 following the closure of the market.
The decision to shut all five markets has been taken after a meeting with Maharashtra principal secretary (marketing) Anoop Kumar, IAS officer Sanjeev Jaiswal and other top bureaucrats. Anoop Kumar called a meeting with the Mandi officials, traders, and other participants in the Agri value chain and finally decided to shut operations at APMC Vashi mandi for seven days between May 11 and 17. As a result of this decision, food, vegetable, fruit, onion-potato and spice markets will be completely closed in the market complex.
Kumar said, “We have decided to keep APMC Vashi shut for the period between May 11 and 17 due to widening spread of coronavirus cases. We are also making alternative arrangements for supply of agricultural commodities to consumers.”
APMC administration and NMMC will carry out disinfection of the market premises and conduct tests during this period.
The APMC market is the principal supplier of grains, vegetables, fruits and spices to Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) and is among the largest complexes of its kind in the country.
80 cases emerged within Mandi
The decision to close Vashi Mandi came after the more than 80 coronavirus cases originated within the Mandi. The coronavirus cases in Navi Mumbai where the APMC is situated has reported more than 450 cases.
With Maharashtra has proved to be a major hotspot for coronavirus, the state is trying to apply every possible measure to avoid the pandemic. As per reports, the state government has decided to set up a 1,000-bed COVID-19 hospital in Navi Mumbai near APMC of Vashi.
Earlier, Corporator of Navi mumbai corporation Jaywant Sutar called for immediate closure of mandi.
Director of Vashi APMC, Sunil Singatkar said, “We are planning to supply to wholesalers in and across Mumbai as much quantity as possible so that there would not be any dearth of supply of essential commodities due to closure of Vashi APMC. Farmers are also allowed to supply directly to consumers.”
The supply of fruits and Vegetables declined in recent days
In order to avoid a shortage of fruits and vegetables, the state governments have converted MMRDA ground in Bandra Kurla Complex and other such large compounds as temporary selling yards.
The Closure of APMC mandi can paralyze supply of grains, spices, fruits, and vegetables to nearly 20 million citizens of Mumbai and millions of others in suburbs.
During this period, all sections of the mandi including grains, spices, fruits, and vegetables would be sanitized. All market participants including farmers, traders, mandi officials, and workers will have to undergo health check-ups compulsorily of which reports would be stored with the mandi officials for future verification.
Total arrivals of all agricultural commodities in APMC Vashi has been declined steadily by 50 percent over the last three days because farmers avoided bringing in their produce to the mandi.
On Wednesday, 1050 vehicles of 9 tonnes of Agri commodities reached the Mandi while only 407 vehicles of 9 tonnes came on Friday.