The Maharashtra Government and the APMC market administration have finally managed to achieve a breakthrough on Monday in reopening the onion, potato and vegetable wholesale markets at Navi Mumbai. The traders and transporters have decided to resume operations from Wednesday.
Anoop Kumar, Secretary of Cooperation Department, told BusinessLine that after long meetings with traders it was decided to resume operations at Navi Mumbai APMC. The traders have been asked to prepare a self-regulation plan so that there is much lesser crowding at the markets. Earlier, some traders had placed excessive orders for the goods, which was beyond the capacity of the APMC management to handle it safely. Today, the traders have been asked to implement a staggered system for unloading of the goods at the market, he said.
Grains, oils traders
APMC management sources said that additional facilities for sanitisation and crowd control are also being worked out. Talks are also being held with traders of grains and spices market. It is hoped that they too will resume their operations from Wednesday.
Due to rising fear of the pandemic among the trading community, the APMC management on April 9 had decided to close the fruits, vegetables, onion and potato markets from April 11 until further orders. The grain, masala and oil markets, too, downed shutters on the same day after some deliberations.
Prashant Jagatap, Secretary of wholesale vegetable traders cooperative at the Navi Mumbai APMC, told BusinessLine that the market will resume operations from Wednesday with the same guidelines of social distancing, which were issued earlier. However, for the proper functioning of the market, the vegetable retailers, who are the main customers of the APMC traders, should not be stopped by the police.
Open ground selling
Jagatap pointed out that as an alternative to the APMC market yard, the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai has allowed for the wholesale trade of vegetables on three public grounds in Mumbai city. If the Navi Mumbai APMC market has to function properly then the ad-hoc arrangement of selling the vegetables in open grounds needs to be discontinued immediately.
He alleged that some people with no prior experience of trading in vegetables are setting up their makeshift shops on the grounds, which is leading to a spurt in prices of certain vegetables.
APMC Director Ajay Vira, who represents the interests of the grain traders, said that issues such as issuing identity cards to the traders and transports, additional sanitation measures facilities and informing police administration about allowing the staff and other market participants to come to Navi Mumbai are still being worked out. The grain and spices traders and administration will again meet on Tuesday to finalise about reopening the market.