MUMBAI: The prices of vegetables and fruits rose on Monday as Vashi’s APMC market closed for business. The politically-affiliated wholesalers shut shop to celebrate an anniversary right after the weekly holiday, Sunday, causing shortages.
Ashok Walunj, APMC director, said, “The entire market will close from March 25 to 31. The vegetable market will function on Tuesday, though. We can’t risk our lives to coronavirus. Also mathadi workers have left for their native villages.”
On Monday, common vegetables in Ghatkopar sold for Rs 40 per 250 gm. “When I expressed shock, the vendor said I could take it or leave it since there was no supply,” said mediaperson Krishnan Nair. In Lokhandwala, rates of some vegetables rose to Rs 100 per kg, up from Rs 80.
Tilak Nagar resident Vishakha Waghmare said, “Vendors are selling lady finger for Rs 120 per kg up from Rs 50-60 last week. They are charging even for a few sprigs of curry leaves.” Bread was not available there. In Kalwa, Thane, apples spiralled to Rs 200 per kg, yet few buyers bargained given the scarcity. Chicken shops there and in large parts of Mumbai were shut, but at the odd one that functioned, as in Bandra’s Pali Market, rates rose as demand grew.
Zaheer Khan, owner of Bristol Bakery in Mahim, said, “We are focussing supplies to our hospital clients like Hinduja, KEM and JJ since patients cannot be inconvenienced. But we are unable to procure fresh stock of maida to bake bread.”
Many traders said there was enough stock lying in godowns and warehouses in Bhiwandi and Thane, but the shortage of staff and shutdown of public transportation are posing hurdles in despatch. They fear the following week could be more difficult.
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