The six-day bandh, which had been called by traders at the Agricultural Produce and Marketing Committee (APMC) against the levying of the Local Body Tax (LBT), has turned out to be an expensive affair for traders. According to sources from the market, the grain market alone suffered a loss of approximately Rs 10.5 crore. With grain traders stating that it would take them at least 4-5 months to recover the exorbitant losses incurred due to their businesses being shut for so many days, traders are contemplating lending support to the current stir.
Adding to the traders’ woes is also the fact that prices of several essential commodities have dipped in comparison to the rates before the protest strike. For instance, the price of tur dal, which was around Rs 64-65 per kg before the strike, has now fallen to Rs 62-63.
Besides moong dal, which was priced at Rs 77-78 per kg, has now dipped to Rs 72-73. Jayesh Vora, director at Vashi’s grain market, said, “A lot of commodities had been stored in the traders godowns, which they purchased prior to the shutdown. They are now forced to sell them at lesser prices.
There is a lot of competition in the market. If one trader sells the commodities at a higher rate despite a dip in prices, another trader would sell the same commodity at a lesser rate, even if he may have to incur losses. The reason being that till he does not sell the existing stock, he cannot order more commodities.”
“It’s going to be a very hard task for us to recover the losses. It could take us over four months to do so,” added Vora. Sources from the market confirmed that the approximately Rs 10.5 crore losses sustained, includes labour costs. Pradeep Bhate, a trader confirming that prices of numerous commodities have decreased, post the strike. “We are not witnessing a lot of retail buyers coming probably because it’s the month of May when a lot of people are known to go back to their villages,” said Bhate.
There are certain other commodities, however, whose prices remained stable, before the market downed its shutters in protest. Nilesh Shah, a rice trader, said, “The price of kolam rice in fact has risen from Rs 37 to 42 per kg. However the price of lokwan wheat and sihor wheat — the latter which comes from Madhya Pradesh, is Rs 18 and Rs 40 per kg respectively in the wholesale market, same as what it was before the market shut in protest of LBT.”
A meeting of all APMC market traders has been called tomorrow to decide whether to shut business in support of the protest or continue business as usual. “Considering that we are not sure whether we would be joining the protest against LBT, we have decided unanimously to order fewer produce, so that we do not suffer losses. Everything now depends on the outcome of Saturday’s meeting,” said Vora.
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