Indian Express: Rekha Nalawade (45) lands up at Mandai — city’s biggest retail vegetable market — around 8 in the morning. She comes from Wadgaon-Maval, travelling a distance 50 km to reach Mandai. Every day, she sells over 100 flowers that fetch her around Rs 400. But Tuesday was not so good for her as she could barely sell 10 flowers till evening.
“I shouldn’t have come today. I didn’t know there was a bandh. But why do they call a bandh? Do they know how much the poor suffer?” she asks.
Some distance away, two vendors are listening to the radio commentary of the Indo-South Africa Test match while three others are taking a nap. “Every afternoon we are busy as vegetable vendors come here for a meal,” says Robin D. He says three hand-carts together sell vada pao, bhel puri and pani puri, earning around Rs 6,000 collectively. “Today, we haven’t earned even one rupee,” he laments.
Forced to call it a day just when they begin their business, shopkeepers and the ubiquitous roadside vendors clearly looked disappointed. While row after row of shops, hotels and eatries remained shut through the day, the vegetable and fruit market was forced to down shutters around 10 am.
In Mandai, some vendors dozed off while others played cards. Sandeep Raut, who sells onions and potatoes, says he earns Rs 3,000 every day. “It hurts when you don’t make even a paisa,” he points out.
Ravi Bhandwalkar, who sells garlic and chilli, was wielding a bat to a telling effect. “What to do, I cannot help but play cricket and forget my misery for the time being,” he says. A guava-seller waited on the road outside Mandai. “I have travelled 65 km from Pathas. Since morning, I could sell only 20 guavas.”
Mandai has over 1,400 vendors in the new and old parts of the market. They earn between Rs 200 and Rs 3,000 daily. And all of them were forced to take an unscheduled holiday on Tuesday. The collective loss, say vendors, could be over Rs 10 lakh.
At Market Yard in Gultekdi, the bandh had little effect as six trucks which arrive every day landed up as usual.