The district administration has decided to shift the fruits and vegetables Mandi to Jagriti Vihar Extension of Meerut on Friday. The traders had decided to close down the Mandi for at least three days after more than two dozen traders and vendors in Mandi were tested positive of Covid 19.
The Mandi would be shifted to Jagriti Vihar Extension for about three months in view of the Corona crisis, told ADM city Ajay Tiwari who, on Wednesday, had inspected the place selected to shift the Mandi along with other officers. To chalk out the shifting plan he discussed the issue with the officials of Mandi Samiti and UP Avas Vikas Parishad. Jagriti Vihar Extension area has been developed by Avas Vikas Parishad and is on the outskirts of the city.
The administration had to take this decision after the traders had announced to close the Mandi for at least three days on Tuesday as more than 24 people from the Mandi including vendors had tested positive of Covid-19. Some traders had home quarantined themselves while a few others had closed their outlets because of the risk of getting infected by Covid-19 before this announcement was made.
“Mandi is a crowded place where social distancing was not practised,” said Naseem Qureshi, a trader at Mandi who welcomed the decision of the administration. In fact, the traders had raised the demand to temporarily shift the Mandi to some other place after 24 samples of traders and vendors coming here tested positive of Corona on last Sunday and Monday. This was the result of the pool testing carried out by the health officials after the death of a Corona positive trader during treatment in Delhi.
Sources say that Divisional Commissioner Anita C Meshram was also unhappy with the widespread cases of Coronavirus in the Mandi. She is believed to have given strict orders to the concerned officials to make arrangements to shift the Mandi and ensure proper social distancing. She would personally inspect the new Mandi area in Jagriti Vihar Extension after all arrangements are made.
The officials told that the Mandi would be functional at the new venue from May 8 and would open from 7 am to 7 pm. A police check post will also be set up there and arrangements for electricity and mobile toilets are being made.
“The Mandi ground is open from all the four sides and social distancing would appropriately be maintained here,” said ADM city adding that the entire Mandi area is being divided into four parts with two entrances. 112 shops have been allotted to the traders and the size of each of these shops is 8×10 mts. The distance between each shop would be 8 mts so that social distancing is maintained.
The officials are also considering to increase the working time in the Mandi so that there is less crowding. The cops deployed there would be given loudspeakers and surveillance sets. They would be responsible for ensuring that people wear masks and maintain a proper distance.
Mandi is a place where fruits and vegetable sellers come from different parts of the district and also from other cities and states. The sellers sell their lot to the retailers and the latter to the vendors. But after the lockdown started, the administration removed the retailers from the chain in order to reduce crowd in the Mandi.
This was also of hardly any help in controlling the crowd, said Basant Singh, a vegetable vendor adding that initially there were some strict regulations inside the Mandi but gradually everyone returned to the casual attitude and hardly any social distancing was maintained there. Maybe things will improve after the shifting of the Mandi as the administration cannot stop the supply of essential commodities such as the fruits and vegetables, he added further.
After the Mandi was closed by the traders on Tuesday the daily supplies of the vegetables and fruits were also affected. “Very few vendors had come to sell on Wednesday and Thursday while the prices are very high,” said Ram Dutt Sharma, a resident of Ganga Nagar Colony here. The vegetables are also not fresh as probably those having old unsold stocks are coming to sell them, he added and hoped that the situation would improve after the Mandi is shifted.