24 cases in two days: Veggies come at a premium as Meerut mandi closed for 3 days
The scared vegetable traders decided to not open their shops inside the mandi at least for three days from Tuesday, which compelled authorities to shift the mandi to some suitable alternate places so that the supply chain could be maintained.Updated: May 06, 2020, 12:11 IST
Two dozen Covid 19 cases inside the vegetable mandi in the past two days have thrown a scare among traders as well as buyers.
The scared vegetable traders decided to not open their shops inside the mandi at least for three days from Tuesday, which compelled authorities to shift the mandi to some suitable alternate places so that the supply chain could be maintained.
On the other hand, people began hoarding vegetables in their houses, anticipating a hike in prices due to the prevailing uncertainty over supply.
Poonam Sharma, a housewife, said, “I have stored onion, potato and green vegetables at least for over a week because prices will go up following closure of the mandi.”
Her apprehension was not unfounded. She lives in Ganga Nagar locality where more than a dozen vendors took rounds to sell vegetables. But on Tuesday, a day after 24 people tested positive, barely two vendors hawked vegetables priced at least 25 to 30 per cent higher than the previous day.
A vegetable vendor said, “Passes issued to vendors and other traders were cancelled and only a few vendors somehow managed to procure vegetables.”
Secretary of Naveen Mandi Narendra Singh said that scared traders refused to open their shops on Tuesday and authorities were now searching for some suitable location where the mandi could function at least for three days while intensive sanitisation was launched on the mandi premises.
Singh said that passes issued to traders and vendors had been cancelled and new passes would be issued after shifting the mandi to new locations. He said, “The idea is to operate vegetable and fruit mandi from two to three locations so that the crowd may be controlled easily”.
City magistrate Satyendra Kumar Singh candidly admitted that it was a mammoth task to maintain supply of vegetables and fruits under the prevailing situation. He said, “Vegetables being an essential commodity, we are doing everything possible to resolve the problem”.
Ashok Sonkar, president of Naveen Mandi Vegetable Traders’ Association, is under home quarantine after a person working next to his shop tested positive. Sonkar, who has been in this trade for over two decades, said, “ We never witnessed such a situation. Traders are scared and farmers are destroying their vegetable crop in fields instead of coming to the mandi. Everyone, including the state government, would suffer huge losses. “
He demanded intensive sanitisation inside the mandi and a plan in consultation with traders to maintain supply of vegetables in the district.
Sarfaraj Ansari, secretary of Naveen Mandi Vegetable Traders Association, said that the mandi had over 150 wholesale traders and approximate 3,500 to 4,000 vendors sold vegetables in every nook and corner of the city. The district had consumption of one truckload of potato, onion and tomato each, as well as approximately 4,000 quintals of green vegetables, he said.
To note, health officials did a pool test in the mandi and 24 people, including traders and vendors, tested corona positive in the past two days. This created fear among people who buy vegetables and fruits from vendors at their doorstep.
“I take vegetables and fruits from the vendor in a bucket and use them only after washing them properly. This is the least I can do to protect my family from being exposed to infection because vegetables pass through many hands before reaching us,” said a home maker Mithilesh.