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APMC vegetable market reopens with caution

The agricultural produce market committee (APMC) market at Gultekdi, which opened on May 31 after nearly two months of lockdown, witnessed a cautious resumption of business, operating well below its normal activity.

Only 200 of the usual 1,500 trucks carrying agricultural produce entered Pune’s largest wholesale centre for vegetables and fruits, Market Yard, on Sunday and roughly the same number of vehicles came in on Monday as well, APMC officials said.

With several COVID-19 positive cases found among traders at the APMC, authorities are taking no chances and have come up with a stringent set of rules to check the spread of the contagion.

“We have made a number of changes in our operations since Sunday to prevent further outbreak of infection among traders, labourers and other personnel working here. Only 50% of the traders and their agents will be keeping their shops open every day. This way, we will prevent overcrowding,” said Pune APMC administrator B.J. Deshmukh, adding each trader would get a chance to transact business every alternate day.

Furthermore, he said only one truck carrying agricultural produce would be offloaded in front of each shop. “The number of vehicles entering Market Yard has been significantly reduced to 200. Thermal screening of every person entering the yard is done while physical distancing and other precautions have to be strictly followed. Now that we have restarted business, we hope that the city’s residents will not have to face any shortage of fruits and vegetables,” Mr. Deshmukh said.

The grocery and grain wholesale market within the APMC had resumed operations on May 25 after being intermittently shut during the lockdown.

Meanwhile, retailers in Pune’s Mahathma Phule Market — the city’s biggest retail vegetable market popularly known as Mandai — have demanded that the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) permit them to resume operations as well.

“There has been a growing demand from retailers in Mandai to start business once again. We will be taking a call on this soon,” PMC Commissioner Shekhar Gaikwad said.

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