Ludhiana mandi now open 6 days a week, crowding a problem
Even though Covid-19 cases are increasing in the city, the administration has allowed the sabzi mandi (vegetable market) near Jalandhar bypass to open for six days in a week from Monday to Saturday.
Opening days were restricted to just three days a week in April after large crowds gathered there even after the virus outbreak.
Though entry has been restricted only to listed vendors and locals are not allowed, a large number of street vendors are entering the market by scaling the wall, authorities said.
Things were no different on Tuesday after the markets opened with a large number of people collecting there , giving social distancing a miss. Many were not wearing masks even though authorities had claimed that no one without masks would be allowed to enter.
Trading in fruits and vegetables too carried on after 11 am despite operations allowed from 5am to 11am.
Many arthiyas (commission agents) requesting anonymity said as they had suffered losses during the lockdown they wanted locals to be allowed to come into the market, but the illegal entry of street vendors who were hand in glove with other arthiyas would hurt their business.
The district mandi officer, Jaswinder Singh, in the meanwhile, said: “The deputy commissioner’s office had reviewed the situation, following which mandi operations had been allowed for six days a week. Strict directions had been issued to the arthiyas that they should not trade with any person without a mask. The market committee will also be sanitising the mandi every Sunday. Police have been asked to keep a check on the entry of street vendors in the market.”
Following complaints of a huge gathering at the sabzi mandi, the administration had, on April 3, restricted the sale of vegetables and fruits to three days, on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Only listed suppliers/vendors selling vegetables to street vendors in the city’s 95 wards were issued passes to enter the market. The vendors were also stopped from setting up their vends.
It was suspected that the then district mandi officer Jasbir Kaur who tested positive in April and assistant commissioner of police Anil Kohli, who succumbed to Covid-19, had also contracted the virus while deputed at the mandi.
Scientists from the Bihar Agriculture University, Sabour, said that things has not been in favour of the mango crop since its flowering time in March this year. Adding woe to the injuries have been the red-banded mango caterpillars which affected the fruits in their initial stage and continue to damage the crops, causing pre-mature falling of mangoes. This is the first time that mango farmers have experienced the impact of climate change, research wing, associate director, Mohammad Feza Ahmad, Bihar Agriculture University, Sabour added.
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