The failure to maintain physical distancing norms during the lockdown has resulted in the temporary closure of the Gaddiannaram fruit market yard in Hyderabad starting from Wednesday. Other similar market yards are also being shut in the city as the Telangana government is worried that these areas can potentially lead to a spread of the coronavirus infection.
The Agricultural Market Yard committee in a notice stated that "despite having clear instructions from the government to wear masks, maintain physical distance and not to spit in public areas, all these are not being fully implemented in the market area by several people, including traders and consumers."
In view of the violations, the market committee said that it has decided to close the market temporarily.
All the farmers were also given instructions not to bring their produce from May 12 evening onwards, due to the closure of the market.
Despite the notice, some farmers who were not aware of the notice, have come to Kothapet Fruit market, which is one of the sub-yards of the Gaddiannaram market. Police had to intervene to disperse the crowd in the early hours on Wednesday.
Everyday, thousands of farmers and retailers and consumers come to this fruit market at Gaddiannaram. One of the main fruit markets in the city, it is spread across 22 acres.
"It has become really difficult to maintain cleanliness in the market with several farmers bringing their produce and so much of waste was also being generated," Ram Narasimha Goud, Chairman, Agricultural Market Committee (AMC) tells TNM.
Thousands of farmers come to this market with their yield from several villages around the city and even if one farmer is infected with the virus their entire village might be at potential risk, added the Chairman.
Though the market has been closed, no other temporary arrangements were made for the wholesale farmers to sell their produce and the authorities said that they would soon re-open the market.
When asked if there would be any impact on the price of the fruits, the Chairman said, "As of now, the fruit market which closed usually has varieties of mango and mosambi. There are other fruit market outlets in Uppal for watermelon, papaya and grape sale. So there won't be any scarcity or price rise, as alternate fruits would be available for the public."
Sources said that Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) is undertaking some sanitisation measures in the fruit market areas. Hydroxychloroquine is also being sprayed and bleaching is also being done in the markets.
As TNM reported earlier, three shop keepers had got infected from two people who were working at the Malakpet Gunj market, which is a huge wholesale market. The shopkeepers' families also contracted the virus through them. Since then, it has resulted in the virus spreading to areas like LB Nagar and Vanasthalipuram, which has the Telangana Health Department worried.
Following the incident, the Malakpet market area was closed temporarily and was shifted to a larger premises in Patancheru where physical distancing would be ensured.