Trade of fruits and vegetables in Delhi is likely to be hit today as several associations in the city’s mandis have decided to join the Bharat Bandh call given by farmers protesting against the Centre’s farm laws.
This morning, the Azadpur Mandi and Ghazipur Mandi wore a deserted look with only a few traders setting up their stalls to trade fruits and vegetables. The Ghazipur Mandi is affected because of its proximity to the NH-24, Delhi’s border with UP’s Ghaziabad, which is completely shut because of the protesting farmers.
Adil Ahmed Khan, chairman of Delhi’s Azadpur Mandi which trades fruits and vegetables in wholesale, said several traders’ associations of the market — along with those in Ghazipur and Okhla — had decided not to operate on 8 December.
“Almost all associations within Azadpur Mandi have said they will not engage in any trade of fruit and vegetables on 8 December in support of the farmers’ protest. Traders have even put banners at all gates of Azadpur Mandi in solidarity with the one-day strike. This is a historic decision because if there are no farmers, there will be no traders in our mandis. But, there is nothing to panic. Delhi won’t face any crisis due to shortage of supplies,” said Khan.
However, not all traders appeared to agree with Khan as they said it would be business as usual for them. “It is preposterous to say that mandis like those in Azadpur, Ghazipur, Okhla or Narela will be completely shut on 8 December. All these markets will remain open and many of us will engage in the usual business. Trucks with the daily supply of fruits and vegetables have already started coming from 7 December evening, an indication that it is business as usual. It is only a section of traders who may opt join the strike and keep their shops shut,” said Anil Malhotra, a wholesale trader and member of the Azadpur Agriculture Produce Marketing Company (APMC).
Several traders from three prominent APMCs in Delhi — Azadpur, Ghazipur and Okhla — said supplies in the national Capital have already been hit because of the road closures along the borders as the farmers continued their protest for the eleventh consecutive day.
“A large number of traders have stopped sending fruits and vegetables to other states temporarily and are focusing only on local supplies to keep prices stable in Delhi. The arrival of fruits and vegetables in Azadpur has dropped significantly from around 11,500 trucks per day on an average for this time of the year to around 6,000 trucks a day,” said Khan.