New Delhi: In an effort to maintain social distancing at this critical time of coronavirus outbreak, the Azadpur mandi, which is the largest wholesale fruit and vegetable market in the country, has decided to introduce odd-even formula from Monday. The move is taken as part of steps to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the country.Also Read - Delhi: Apple Truck Carrying Heroin Worth Rs 250 Crore Seized in Azadpur Mandi

The mandi has decided to stagger timings — 6 AM to 11 Am for sale of vegetables and 2 PM to 6 PM for sale of fruits. The mandi was forced implement the odd-even formula as many were seen violating the social distancing norms while buying vegetables from here. Also Read - Fresh allotment of tomato sheds at Azadpur Mandi: Delhi govt

Speaking to news agency PTI, Adil Ahmad Khan, chairman of the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC), Azadpur, said that there are 22 big sheds under which hundreds of traders sell vegetables and a huge number of people visit the market on a daily basis.

“Under the odd-even rules, we will allow all the 22 sheds to operate according to their numbers. For instance, on an even date, even-numbered sheds such as 0, 2, 4, 6, 8 will be allowed to function.

He said that the move from the mandi will help all maintain social distancing in the market in view of the COVID-19 outbreak. After the successful implementation, the same formula will also be implemented at other wholesale markets of the national capital.

The development comes as Delhi Development Minister Gopal Rai has called a meeting of officials of all the wholesale markets on Monday to discuss ways to ensure social distancing in the mandis.

As updates from the Health Ministry on Saturday, the number of coronavirus cases in the national capital has gone up to 1,069 with 166 fresh cases and five deaths reported in a day.