BENGALURU: The four-hour relaxation in curfew time (6 am to 10 am) to transact business at the Yeshwantpur APMC yard is not enough and at least an eight-hour window is essential, say traders at South India’s biggest wholesale market. They cautioned that the government may end up creating an artificial scarcity, unless the relaxation is given. However, talks by traders with the State Agriculture Department on Tuesday evening in this connection did not yield any result.
Ramesh Chandra Lahoti, president of the Yeshwantpur APMC yard Okkoota, told TNIE, “We held talks with the Agriculture department Director to extend the timings up to 2 pm. Even if they permit us to run on alternate days, it will help us complete our business transactions.” He warned, “Just like the shortage happening with oxygen now, we will have shortage of all essentials and an artificial scarcity will be created.”
Explaining the situation, Lahoti said that it will take the labourers and other support staff at least an hour (up to 7 am) to reach the yard from different parts of the City as soon as the curfew is relaxed at 6 am. “It takes up to four hours to unload a truck and the workers have to reach their homes before the 10 am deadline. We are responsible for the safety of our workers and traders. Even retailers who come here to buy groceries need to load everything on to their vehicles and take it to different parts of the city. all this cannot be done in such a short duration,” he explained.
During the first wave of Covid last year, the yard was permitted to function up to 4 pm, Lahoti pointed out.
Karee Gowda, Director of Agricultural Marketing, is reported to have told traders that they have to abide by the government’s orders and relaxation was not possible. Uday Shankar, secretary of the Onion and Potato Merchants’ Association, also said that the four-hour window needs to relaxed if people have to get their essentials uninterrupted during the curfew period.