This Wednesday, the city is likely to lose business worth Rs 100 crore as the traders and labourers of Vashi’s Agricultural Produce and Marketing Committee (APMC) have decided to shut the market. The move marks their disapproval against the state government’s decision to exempt fruits and vegetables from the APMC act. Though the decision is applicable only as far as fruits, vegetables and the onion-potato markets are concerned, traders at the masala and grain markets at APMC have also decided to keep their markets shut to show their support towards other wholesale markets in Navi Mumbai.
According to the APMC Act, wholesale traders are allowed to sell commodities to retailers. Exemption from the act would mean that farmers will be allowed to sell their produce to the retailers directly, instead of going through middle-men. The government feels this will keep price hikes in check.
Traders and labourers, who have been fuming over the government’s decision, said that the mathadi kamgars (labourers) who load and unload trucks, will be affected by the strike, too. Narendra Patil, mathadi leader, told SUNDAY MiD DAY, “We aren’t speaking of a handful of workers here -- almost 25, 000 labourers will be affected by the government’s decision. They are daily-wage earners; often sole bread-winners who have families to feed with the earnings from the market. Making sudden decisions without considering the plight of the lives associated with the markets is not justifiable. Besides, there are local transporters, too, who would be out of job because of this.”
Labourers are furious about first being shifted from Mumbai to Navi Mumbai for business and now being sidelined. “In 1980’s, it was the onion-potato market which was shifted to Navi Mumbai. Later, others were asked to follow. Now, the government plans to do away with the wholesale market (fruits and vegetables) completely. It is unfair,” added Patil.
Meanwhile, traders allege that retailers are responsible for the inflation of commodities. Sanjay Pansare, director of APMC fruit market, said, “Each day, business worth crores of rupees is conducted at APMC, because it’s a wholesale market. We have decided to keep market shut for one day (January 8) as a mark of protest. On that day, we plan to meet senior authorities at the Mantralaya and explain our grievances.”
Pansare added the market has been working systematically since many years. “Suddenly, the government decides to break the flow. It is unfair to numerous traders and labourers connected to the market. It’s not us, but the retailers, who are responsible for the rise in prices. The government needs to find a way to control the manner in which they hike prices,” he said.
>> According to the APMC act, wholesale traders are allowed to sell commodities to retailers
>> Exemption from the act would mean that farmers will be allowed to sell their produce to the retailers directly, instead of going through middle-men. The government feels this will keep price hikes in check
>> Traders allege that retailers are responsible for the inflation of the commodities