Following two dozen Covid-19 cases in the fruits and vegetables Mandi in the last 24 hours, the panic-stricken traders have closed the Mandi for at least three days starting from Tuesday. This might lead to a shortage of vegetables and fruits in the city.

The administration is now considering to shift the Mandi to some other place so that the sanitization of the current Mandi could be done to ensure the uninterrupted supply of vegetables and fruits in the city.

Meanwhile, the passes issued to the vendors and traders in the Mandi were cancelled and very few of these were somehow able to get vegetables and fruits. Due to this situation, very few vendors went out to sell in the residential colonies.

“While normally at least 12 to 15 vendors used to do rounds to sell vegetables and fruits in our area, on Tuesday only two managed to come,” said Mithilesh Singh, a resident of Ganganagar Colony, situated on the outskirts of the city.

Well aware of the crisis that she may face due to the non-availability of vegetables, she bought a substantial amount. “I have purchased enough potatoes, onion, ginger and tomatoes,” she said adding that, however, in the family of eight members the requirement is much more.

The prices of vegetables and fruits also shot up with the sudden increase of cases of Covid-19 from the Mandi, said Komal Aggarwal, a resident of Saket Colony.

She fears a further hike in the prices as the supplies would be affected in view of the closure of the Mandi.

Neelam Aggarwal, a resident of Rajendra Nagar Colony, bought vegetables at a much higher price on Tuesday. “Prices have become unimportant now because these are essential things and have to be purchased at any cost,” she quipped adding that the vendors are charging as per their will.

The situation is not so good in the Mandi, said a fruit vendor, Anil. He somehow managed to procure some fruits to sell while other vendors could not get there as their passes have been cancelled by the administration.

Meanwhile, the traders in the Mandi have decided to close their shops for at least three days, told Narendra Singh, Secretary of Naveen Mandi. He said that the administration is now in the process of shifting the Mandi to some other place only after which the shops would be opened up.

He informed that new passes would now be issued to the traders and vendors coming to Mandi after it is shifted.

Meanwhile, many traders who were working close to the Corona positive persons inside the Mandi have home quarantined themselves.

Under any situation, the supply of fruits and vegetables would be ensured to the people, claimed City Magistrate Satendra Kumar Singh. He further said that the supply chain would not be affected as these are essential commodities.

Naseem Qureshi, a trader, said that there is a daily consumption of one truckload of potatoes, onion, tomatoes and more than 4000 quintals of green vegetables like ladyfinger, capsicum, and bitter guard in the district. Around 4000 vendors purchase these vegetables from the traders in different parts of the city, hence there is a presence of more than 4000 of these besides traders who are about 150-200.

Sincere efforts are needed to be made to ensure social distancing in the Mandi so that no further cases are reported, he said demanding a thorough sanitization in the Mandi during these three days when the shops are closed. He suspects that more cases of Covid-19 could be reported from Mandi making the situation grim. “Many traders are in quarantine,” he said adding that it could affect the activities in Mandi.

24 persons, including traders and vendors, had tested positive for Covid-19 in a pool testing carried out by the health officials after cases had surfaced from Mandi and a person died during treatment in a Delhi hospital.