GUWAHATI, March 26 - With people in the city facing scarcity of many kitchen staples in the wake of the nationwide lockdown imposed to prevent the spread of coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, the government is devising ways to make vegetables and fruits easily available to the people on a permanent basis and a decision has been taken to operate the mobile vans of the Assam State Agricultural Marketing Board (ASAMB) for the retail sale of those items in the city.
In addition, the Agriculture department is also keen to ensure that people here get fresh products. As such, it will take up the issue with the Food and Civil Supply department to facilitate transportation of vegetables and fruits from Kharupetia, Barpeta and Morigaon.
Official sources told The Assam Tribune that a high-level meeting was held at the Janata Bhawan under the chairmanship of Rajesh Prasad, Principal Secretary (Agriculture). A number of major decisions were arrived at during the meeting.
“Arrangements for opening the existing outlets of ASAMB for fruits and vegetables at Chandmari, Sixmile and Panbazar will be made. We have also decided that the Pamohi wholesale market should be opened. However, the social distancing and other guidelines imposed by the competent authority in respect of Covid-19 should be strictly imposed in the market. ASAMB will operate the existing mobile vans for the retail sale of vegetables and fruits in the city area. ASAMB will work out a detailed plan for the mobile sale of vegetables and fruits in different parts of the city in consultation with the Director of Food and Civil Supply,” said an official.
Kulen Talukdar, Commissioner and Secretary (Agriculture), will be the overall in-charge of the process.
“At many places, products are getting piled up as transportation has become a problem on account of the lockdown. Directions have been issued to prepare a list, comprising phone numbers and other details, of Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs) and progressive farmers under the Department of Agriculture, ASAMB and the Directorate of Horticulture and Food Processing. The list will be shared with all concerned for ease of operations. It will help both the producers sell their products while also making those available to consumers,” said the official.