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Will Mumbai be hit by shortage of essential goods?

By Dilip Kumar Jha
May 07, 2020 11:00 IST
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Vashi APMC traders see supplies to Mumbai impacted over movement curbs. A number of trucks sent to Mumbai from the market has reduced from 600 per day in recent times to around 300.

APMC

IMAGE: The APMC fruit market is shifted to a ground after a security persons was found positive for COVID-19. Photograph: PTI Photo

The Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation’s (NMMC’s) public notice restricting movement of people in essential services to Navi Mumbai from Mumbai has left traders jittery.

This is because it could potentially disturb the functioning of the Vashi agricultural produce market committee (APMC) and also disturb supplies to Mumbai.

 

NMMC commissioner had said cases of COVID-19 in the Mumbai region are higher and people coming from there are importing the virus to Navi Mumbai.

As a result, an advisory notice was issued saying people coming from Mumbai to Navi Mumbai will have to find accommodation in Navi Mumbai.

Several workers and even many traders in Vashi APMCs come from Mumbai and Thane.

Now, fear has spread in the all major segments of Vashi APMC, including grains, vegetables, fruits and spices spread across 200 acres.

APMC

IMAGE: Worker sprays disinfectant on vehicles entering Vashi's APMC Masala Market after few COVID-19 positive cases were detected in the area. Photograph: PTI Photo

The labour force has also reduced significantly while traders are avoiding regular visits despite the market remaining open.

Business has already started shrinking.

A number of trucks sent to Mumbai from the market has reduced from 600 per day in recent times to around 300.

This is because transporters are afraid of going to the New Mumbai market.

A source said, “Already, grain suppliers coming from other cities and places to Vashi have been told not to come till the situation improves at the mandi as there is acute shortage of labour there.”

With 13 new cases identified recently, the total number of COVID-19 patients connected directly and indirectly to the Vashi APMC yard has jumped to 73 now.

In Navi Mumbai itself, 34 new confirmed COVID-19 cases have been reported in 24 hours, taking the total number of patients to 348.

The NMMC has put out a public notice, restricting movement of people from Navi Mumbai to Mumbai.

“Citizens travelling everyday from Navi Mumbai to Mumbai for essential services will be restricted from May 7 to avoid spread of Covid-19,” the notice said.

“The public notice is just a request for traders to arrange for a temporary shelter for themselves and their workmen in and around Vashi APMC to avoid travelling from Mumbai,” said Anil Chavan, secretary, Vashi APMC.

Participants at the Vashi vegetable mandi are worried and one senior functionary recommended the administration of the mandi to close it for two weeks.

APMC

IMAGE: Workers violate social distancing norms as they unload fruits from trucks at APMC market, during the nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus. Photograph: PTI Photo

Meanwhile, the administration of various sections of the APMC yard have started taking steps to curb entry of people.

The vegetables and fruits section, for example, has restricted entry of retail customers.

The section administration has put a minimum purchase limit of Rs 10,000 per person to get entry permission.

Earlier, even retail customers seeking 2.5-5 kgs of fruits and vegetables were allowed to purchase goods of their choice.

“Fruits and vegetables require physical verification of quality. And therefore, trading through telephone may not be possible.

"Only physical participants can check the quality and purchase the quantity as per their requirement.

"Hence, we have kept the minimum ticket size of purchase at Rs 10,000,” said Chavan.

The grains and spices sections have started encouraging customers to book their quantity through telephone.

But, delivery of goods will have to be done only from the APMC yard.

“We have successfully brought down the daily entry of people to 60,000 now from over 100,000 before the nationwide lockdown started from March 25,” said Chavan.

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Dilip Kumar Jha in Mumbai
Source: source
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