Traders and transporters associated with the Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) have decided to take on the government in the fight to oppose the decision to allow 51 per cent Direct Foreign Investment (FDI) in the retail sector.
As part of the nation-wide strike, the protesters will be forcing all the vendors, including street vendors, to keep their shops and stalls shut for a day.
MiD DAY in its report ('Strike alert: Stock up your veggies now!' Nov 29) had published about the Dec 1 bandh called in by these traders and transporters as a mark of protest against the central government's FDI policy.
Pramod Joshi, general secretary of Navi Mumbai Vyapari Sangh, said, "During our discussion with traders in Mumbai and Navi Mumbai, we had decided to shut all the shops. Even the roadside vendors won't be allowed to operate. In addition, we'll be urging the big malls to support us in our fight against FDI."
Seconding Joshi's view, Narendra Patil, secretary of APMC Mathadi Kamgar Union stated, "It is a fight for our survival. Once FDI is allowed, we will be ruined. Hence, by keeping the shops shut, we want to send a strong message to the government. Those refusing to support us will be dealt with sternly."
Asha Dedia, manager of Shah Dhanji Naiya & Corporation, Dadar, said, "It is unfortunate that the centre is planning to implement FDI in India. If this happens, there would be no employment left for the country's uneducated lot."
Shubha Desai, a housewife, said, "We are not sure whether the government's decision of bringing in big retailers will curb inflation or not. However, we are sure that commoners would be shelling out extra on vegetables due to the bandh."
According to Vijay Shelke, a trader at APMC market, "On an average, a vegetable and fruit trader does a business of nearly Rs 50,000 a day. Hence, huge losses are expected due to the strike. However, the strike is necessary or else we'll be ruined forever."
A senior APMC official, requesting anonymity, said, "On a daily basis, business worth Rs 100 crore is carried out at the market. And the government makes about Rs 1 crore by imposing multiple taxes.
If the markets suffer losses, so will the government."