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APMC mandi in Navi Mumbai to go digital to combat coronavirus

By Dilip Kumar Jha
May 16, 2020 10:11 IST
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People in the know said plans were afoot to begin the sale of all food grains through online, with a major quantity through auctions that would be later extended to other commodities. 

IMAGE: The APMC market in Vashi, Navi Mumbai. Photograph: Farooq Sayed / ANI Photo.

The Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) at Vashi, Navi Mumbai, is set to go online and sell commodities via electronic orders for delivery, in a day or two. The digital foray comes 43 years after the commencement of physical sale. 

 It will start with food grains, with modalities to be finalised on Saturday. The move was decided upon after the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation’s (NMMC’s) advisory on Thursday, which called for devising strategies to reduce footfalls in the APMC yard. 

Over 120 mandi participants have been infected so far, including traders, farmers, workers, and customers -- taking the total number to over 600 in the APMC’s vicinity. 

 

The Maharashtra government had earlier closed the mandi for a week until Sunday, only to reopen after proper sanitisation of the entire yard along with a health check-up of all participants. 

It has convened a meeting of all stakeholders, including officials of the marketing department (which monitors APMC), trade associations, mandi officials, and farmers’ representatives, on Saturday. This is to draw a roadmap on the online venture and linking of the same with the electronic National Agricultural Mandi (eNAM).  

“We have advised the mandi to start selling online. A detailed blueprint on the operative part will be finalised in the scheduled meeting with stakeholders on Saturday,” said Annasaheb Misal, commissioner of NMMC. 

Spread across 72.5 hectares in six separate sections, the Vashi APMC commenced physical selling of onion and potato in 1977. Three years later (in 1980), the state government notified to allow trade in fruits, vegetables, spices and condiments. Food grains and pulses are major commodities traded here, where farmers, stockists, exporters, traders, wholesalers and retailers from across the country come to execute their deals. 

Before the outbreak, 100,000 people used to enter the mandi. However, the market yard imposed various restrictions, such as mandatory prior registration of vehicles and passengers for entry, and denial of permission to retail purchasers with a booking order of below Rs 10,000.  

These actions resulted in a sharp reduction in footfalls to 60,000 before the mandi was shut on May 11.  

“However, further reduction in the number of people entering the mandi is required, without hurting farmers’ and traders’ interests. Hence, we need to plan sale of some commodities only through online,” said Anil Chavan, secretary of APMC Vashi.  

Upon a successful beginning of the online venture, the government may link APMC Vashi with eNAM for nationwide sale of agricultural commodities cultivated in Maharashtra.  

People in the know said plans were afoot to begin the sale of all food grains through online, with a major quantity through auctions that would be later extended to other commodities.  

“A wholesaler or retailer may place orders through email or phone, with payment in advance or on delivery,” said Sunil Singatkar, director of APMC Vashi.  

The Vashi APMC had collected a total revenue of Rs 100 crore for FY19 through 2.75 per cent of mandi tax.

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Dilip Kumar Jha in Mumbai
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