A week after complete shutdown, Vashi Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) is all set to open on Monday with some segments opening on Thursday with a limited entry of farmers, traders, stockists, arhatiyas, and consumers.
In a meeting of all mandi stakeholders including the government officials held on Saturday, it was decided that vegetables, grains, and masala market will open from Monday while fruits, onion, and potato would open from Thursday. The grain market is working our odd-even formula with one day for loading of commodities coming from other places while another day for loading or sending to consumers in and around Mumbai.
Commodities send by thousands of farmers across Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu among other states enter into Vashi APMC every day with an average footfall recorded at around 100,000 before the nationwide lockdown which began on March 25. Following a lot of preventive measures taken by the state government and the mandi authorities, a total number of footfalls declined to 60,000. The government aims to reduce it further to prevent the spread of coronavirus (Covid-19) which has infected over 550 people in Navi Mumbai and around 125 in Vashi APMC which called for immediate action to prevent crowding at the mandi.
“The new arrangement will be strictly followed with the help of local police and mandi officials. Health checkup and sanitisation of entrants will also be done on a regular basis to prevent spread of Covid-10,” said Anil Chavan, Secretary, APMC Vashi.
The government has restricted entry of the number of vehicles into mandis. For entry, the vehicle requires to get prior registration and obtain a token number and timing for entry for smooth medical checkup of its driver and attendants, apart from proper sanitisation of the vehicle itself.
For vegetables, a maximum of 150 vehicles would be allowed for an entry per day. For grains and masala markets, 300 and 200 vehicles would be allowed to enter into mandi premises.
Before the nationwide lockdown, over 650 vehicles containing vegetables alone on an average used to enter into APMC Vashi. Apart from that, thousands of vehicles carrying other commodities including grains, masala, fruits, onion, and potato also were entering into mandi every day.
According to Chavan scanning and oxygen level of each entrant will be checked before allowing them entry into the Vashi APMC.
Emphasising the need for online sales, Chavan said that the APMC has launched a separate application through which bulk and retail orders can be placed for delivery in a day or two.
The restricted entry of vehicles and traders is set to cut availability of agricultural commodities to over 20 million consumers in Mumbai and another millions in its suburbs and elsewhere across the country.
In the meantime, the government has also allowed direct sale of agricultural and horticultural commodities from farmers to consumers with opening up of temporary spot markets at Bandra Kurla complex and Sion in the western and central suburbs respectively.