MP experiments with contactless vegetable-sale after vendors turn Covid-19 superspreaders
MP is innovating to ensure that the sales of essential commodities like vegetables is done without spreading the contagion.Updated: May 19, 2020 19:30 IST
Madhya Pradesh is coming to grips with vegetable vendors turning superspreaders of coronavirus, by organising the sale of vegetables and implementing a new guideline for street vendors to cut the chain of transmission of the disease.
Of late, Ujjain, one of the major Covid-19 hotspots, has introduced an almost contactless method of vegetable sales at the doorsteps and is even training vendors to accept digital payment instead of letting cash exchange hands. Residents are also being encouraged to purchase baskets of vegetables priced at Rs 50 and Rs 100 instead of choosing, a process conducive to the spread of the contagion.
Besides, every vendor is being trained to make customized vegetable packets apart from using sanitisers during the sale. Around 100 vendors have been pressed to service 59 wards in Ujjain and they are packing vegetables in cloth bags instead of plastic ones.
Earlier, it was Indore that experimented with the selling of custom-sized vegetable baskets instead of loose items. The baskets were priced at Rs 150 and Rs 200.
“administration in several districts of Madhya Pradesh found that a number of vegetable and fruits vendors, too, contributed to spreading of the virus, hence these districts have started taking tough measures against the vendors violating lockdown restrictions,” a health department official said.
In the past three days, Bhopal Police has booked at least 20 vegetable vendors for not complying with lockdown restrictions after one of them was found to be positive for Covid-19. Only authorised vendors are authorised to sell vegetables in Bhopal at fixed rates.
Earlier, in Ujjain, two vendors were put under treatment after found to be Covid-19 positive and another 65-year-old woman died in RD Gardi Medical College. She was suspected to have picked up the virus from the vegetable market.
In April third week, the municipal corporation in Indore had seized vegetables from a vendor’s house after he was found operating his shop from his house despite a ban on the direct sale of vegetables and fruits.
Rishi Garg, commissioner of Ujjain municipal corporation (UMC) said that the conventional functioning of the supply chain of farmers, whole-sellers at Mandi and vendors, is prone to spreading the infection.
“The corporation has tied up with vendors who bring vegetables from select farmers from outside the city. Each ward in the city has been allotted one or two loader vehicles. The cell phone numbers of the driver and the nodal officer have been shared in public so that people can call them up for home delivery,” Garg explained how the administration was trying to disrupt the conventional model to break the chain of the virus.
He added that in order to minimise the exchange of currency, vendors have also been trained in digital payments using platforms such as Bhim App or Paytm.
Similar tactics were being followed in Indore as well. Information officer Dr RR Patel said that certain marriage halls outside the city had been earmarked and allotted to traders who deliver packed vegetables at the doorstep.