Traders of perishable items in the city affected by the ongoing truckers' strike
BY A STAFF REPORTER
The mood was sombre at the Mahatma Phule Market in South Mumbai. Traders, with worry writ large over their faces, sat amidst crates of over-ripe fruits and wilting vegetables. The issue on everybody's mind was the indefinite strike called by truckers in protest against the High Court order banning 15-year-old vehicles in the state. "Business has taken a nose-dive after truck owners in Maharashtra went on an indefinite strike since April 1," said vegetable trader Subhash Mhoprekar. He pointed out that prices had gone up since there was no arrival of goods from other states. "However, we are incurring heavy losses since consumers are not willing to shell out money for high priced vegetables."
Pointing to baskets of wilting leafy vegetables, Mr. Mhoprekar says, "No one buys goods that look like this at steep rates." Another vegetable trader Ramesh Jadhav informs that they pick goods from the Byculla market. "Now that the truckers are on strike, we rent tempos and other vehicles to procure our daily quota of vegetables. Also, we take the services of labourers in transporting the goods from the market to our shops," Mr. Jadhav added.
Meanwhile, fruit traders in the market say that the rates have gone down considerably after the strike. "This is the consignment we received before the strike and we have to sell it off. Fruits cannot be transported out of the city and the demand in Mumbai is not very high. We are selling our goods at very low prices," said Ram Morde. Another fruit trader, Vilas Dhoble said that they got the stock of fruits from the Navi Mumbai market. "Business is really bad these days. The losses aside, there are several overheads including the salary of our employees. It is the mango season and we also employ daily wage labourers to help us."
Marketing inspector, Kalim Kasoo informed that the trade of other perishable items like mutton and beef was unaffected because the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) had its own vehicles to transport goods from the Deonar abattoir. Meanwhile, Sudhir Upadhyay, marketing inspector of the Shri Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Fish Market in South Mumbai, said that the prices of fish were fixed according to the arrival and demand. "Here we get fish from all over the country including Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. Since trucks are not entering the state now, the supply is low and hence the prices are steep. But the consignment that have already arrived in the city are being sold at low rates."