It is just 8am and Lasalgaon, Asia’s largest onion market, is already abuzz with exercise on Thursday. One after the opposite, vans and pick-up trolleys bearing the season’s produce make their manner in and inside a couple of hours, as many as 871 of them have arrived and brought place in accordance to the numbers allotted to them. Hectic auctioning begins, the merchants are aggressive, and people with the best bids land the deal.
This would possibly seem to be simply another day for a wholesale market. Except, it’s not. It’s Amavasya — the brand new moon day — and the primary time in 74 years that the market, located 225km from Mumbai, has been saved open on a day that’s thought of inauspicious by many.
The motive behind the shift in custom is straightforward: After bearing heavy losses due to the Covid-induced lockdowns, the merchants and farmers are in no temper to let the specter of a “dangerous omen” are available manner of creating a revenue.
Said Nandkumar Daga, onion dealer and Lasalgaon Merchants’ Association President, “The market was shut for 1.5 months due to Covid and we confronted main losses. Due to the lockdown, an enormous inventory of onion had bought gathered with farmers and they don’t have another possibility however to promote it, particularly with the wet season upon us. It’s sowing time and farmers want cash for that. Traders, too, are going through monetary crunch and it’s not sensible to maintain the market closed for one full day simply due to some decades-old custom.”
Ever because the market was established in 1947, the try to open it on Amavasya was made solely as soon as earlier than. “Around twenty years in the past, we tried to open the market on new moon day however one among our merchants died in an accident. This additional cemented the belief that opening the market on Amavasya is a foul omen,” stated Daga.
Market insiders have been stunned on the overwhelming response on Thursday.
“We have been considering that hardly 200 vans will come however we have been delighted to see so many individuals coming for the public sale,” stated a market staffer.
According to the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) officers, round 16,833 quintal onions value Rs 3.03 crore have been offered out. Though the amount remains to be lower than typical, when round 27,000 quintal onions are offered, it was nonetheless a very good signal, stated merchants.
Yogesh Bhausaheb Jagtap, 36, an onion farmer from Shelkewadi Village in Niphad taluka, stated he didn’t care as a lot in regards to the “dangerous omen” as he did about recovering the cash he had invested within the onions after taking a mortgage. “Due to the lockdown, our produce was mendacity within the discipline for over a month. The market was additionally closed, inflicting us large losses. Onion is perishable and desires to be offered out as quickly as attainable.”
Shiva Gade, one other farmer, stated that not having the ability to promote the produce would have been “a much bigger omen” as “my complete household would have suffered.”
Lasalgaon APMC secretary Narendra Vadhavane stated, “We have been making an attempt to open the market on Amavasya for the final two-three years however didn’t get a constructive response. But this time, owing to the shutdown for over 25 days, there have been main losses and the merchants’ physique agreed to open the market by setting the age-old belief aside.”
The Lasalgaon committee has now determined to maintain the market open on all new moon days sooner or later, even whether it is for half a day.
As Daga stated, “We should change ourselves with the time.”