Thirteen shops have been shut and over 40 people put under quarantine in Azadpur mandi the past few days, as Covid-19 spread across one of India’s biggest wholesale markets.
What is heartening though is that so far there hasn’t been any major impact on the supplies and sale of fruits and vegetables. On Thursday, some 6,000 tonnes of perishables arrived at the mandi, which is quite near the normal levels.
On Wednesday, around 5,000 metric tonnes of fruits and vegetables arrived at the mandi. According to rough estimates there are over 400 big shops in Azadpur while the number of small shops is much more.
Adil Ahmed Khan, chairman of Azadpur APMC, said there wasn’t any unusual increase in prices as supplies were enough to meet demand. He said as per the district administration, 15 persons have been infected by Covid-19 in the mandi and their contact tracing is on.
However, some traders said supplies of a few vegetables such as ladyfinger, bitter gourd, cucumber and bottle gourd remained lower as compared to previous days, as movement from neighboring Sonipat district in Haryana was hampered because the Haryana administration had sealed the borders.
Smooth operation of the vital market, which caters to Delhi and satellite towns, had come under a cloud after one trader died of Covid-19 few days back, and a few others got infected.
A section of traders had threatened to down shutters fearing for their safety while labourers and daily wagers too demanded adequate safety measures to avoid over-crowding.
The mandi administration thereafter introduced a token system to regulate vehicles entering the market and provided them an alternative site to park so that there isn’t much crowding.
No vehicle carrying vegetables or fruits is allowed to stay for more than six hours within the Azadpur mandi so that there isn’t crowding and congestion within the premises.
A section of the traders want the mandi operations to be shifted to a nearby larger open field so that adequate social distancing norms could be maintained. Delhi has emerged as one of the major hotspots for Covid-19 with over 3,000 confirmed cases.