Traders at Asia’s biggest wholesale agricultural produce market in Vashi, Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) market, revealed that incidents of thefts have become common there.
The matter has reached the extent that APMC police recently had to issue a circular stating that all those working inside the market, especially the goods loaders, are required to have identity proof.
Some sections of the market have introduced mandatory identity cards. The decision came after several incidents of thefts by drug peddlers and children from neighbouring slums were reported to the police. Traders revealed that the thefts occur during the night-time, when the market is closed. Regular and migrant workers who are stationed at the market during the seasonal period of fruits do the majority of the stealing, they added.
Traders said that most of the thefts take place in the vegetable and fruit market and crates of stored fruits are stolen from the blocks. “Children from neighbouring slum areas come to the market and steal fruits from trucks stationed at the market.
When contacted, Maya More, senior police inspector at APMC police station, said, “By issuing ID cards to workers, guards at the gates can verify every person who enters the market during the night.
We have also recommended that APMC officials shut the canteens by evening, as then outsiders won’t enter. Further, we also suggested dog squads and CCTVs as it is Asia’s biggest agricultural produce market.” Sanjay Pansare, director of the fruit market said that they have already started issuing ID cards to labourers coming to market.
The APMC market in Vashi is spread across 70 acres of land and has 3,700 godowns, 1,500 commercial blocks and five major wholesale markets including that for fruits, vegetables, grains, spices and onions and potatoes.