NEW DELHI: Fear and panic have taken over Asia’s biggest fruit and vegetable wholesale market, Azadpur mandi, in Delhi. With the number of coronavirus-positive active cases in the area at 14, traders at the market are wary of keeping shops open.
A day after neighboring state Haryana decided to stop all trade from the market into Sonipat and even blocked the routes to and fro; a significant drop of 3,000 to 4,000 tons in produce has been witnessed. The administration, however, maintains that trading is normal inside the market and that all contacts of those infected are being traced.
“5,000 tons of vegetables and fruits arrived in Azadpur mandi. Since the lockdown, arrivals in the mandi were being recorded from around 7,000 to 8,000 tons. However, at present, vegetables and fruits are available in proportion to the demand. Prices remained normal inside the market. No increase of any kind has been recorded,” informed, Adil Ahmed Khan, chairman of Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC).
Almost a week ago a jackfruit trader, Bhola Dutt, who worked at Azadpur market succumbed to the coronavirus infection the next day he was admitted to Max Hospital. Since then, associations inside, have been demanding shifting of the market and alleging lapse on part of the government for not enforcing stricter social distancing norms.
“Azadpur mandi is slowly coming to a halt, most traders aren’t coming because of the fear of coronavirus spread here,” said Rajinder Sharma, a trader at the market.
The APMC which recently decided to keep the wholesale market operational for 24 hours has maintained that it is taking precautions to sanitise the area and that all unnecessary movement of people have been curbed.
District Magistrate (North), Deepak Shinde informed that “We have the figure at 14 as of now; these traders are not directly connected to the mandi, the process of tracing the contacts of positive cases is on.”