New Delhi, April 16 (IANS) Shabana, her husband and two children come to the Azadpur Mandi everyday to collect vegetables that fall off trucks during unloading at the market. These are then sold by her family. But of late, the couple has not been lucky to collect enough vegetables.
Shabana's husband has a hand-pulled vegetable cart — it is now used as a bed to carry his two children, a year-old daughter and 3-year-old son. Shabana says it has been tough to provide for her family. She says, "We collected waste vegetables left from the trucks and would then sell them. But for the last three days we have not been able to collect vegetables from the Mandi," she said.
She said, "Due to the implementation of odd-even scheme in the Mandi very few trucks are being unloaded, resulting in very less waste vegetables." With the money they earn, milk is a luxury for the family, says Shabana. The Delhi government on April 12 said that to implement social distancing amid the fear of coronavirus spread, Azadpur Mandi will now have separate timings for vegetables and fruits, with Odd-Even scheme implemented for stall numbers.
According to Adil Ahmad Khan, chairman of the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC), Azadpur Mandi, the stalls with even numbers will operate on even dates while those with odd numbers will operate on odd dates. He also said in order to maintain and enforce social distancing in the Azadpur Mandi, vegetables and fruits will be sold at different times.
While vegetables will be sold between 6 - 11 a.m., the timing for fruits will be between 2 - 6 p.m. The government has also installed full body sanitisation tunnels spraying disinfectant automatically on people at the gates of Azadpur Mandi. Told about the Delhi government's efforts to provide food to the needy in the city, Shabana said, there were complaints of poor quality so she avoids these meals.
Lamenting the decision of the Delhi government, she said that the government should have made arrangements for the poor before taking any such harsh decisions.
The BJP has criticised the Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP government over its decision to implement the odd-even scheme in the mandi. The BJP said that if the fruits are not allowed to unload during the day then it will be of no use as the fruits are not packed and not stored in refrigerated containers.