The spice traders at Vashi’s APMC market who had shut shops to protest the Local Body Tax (LBT) for over a week, finally resumed their business on Monday. However, the quality of a lot of commodities lying in godowns and transporters’ trucks during this period has gone down in the bargain.
In fact, traders now have no option but to sell these commodities at a cheaper rate. Sources from the market said the spice market which alone has around 1,200 licence holders - suffered a loss amounting to crores due to the shut market. Traders from the spice market had stopped making any new purchases during the strike. Although the market did not face any major shortage, there was scarcity of a few commodities like chilly, jaggery, coriander and turmeric.
While talking to MiD DAY yesterday, Kirti Rana, director of the market, said, “February to April is a peak time for spice traders. However, ours being a global market, commodities from any state are known to reach here within three days. Once new purchases begin, the problem of scarcity would immediately dissolve.” He further added, “As far as items from our market are concerned, consumers did not face any major shortage as spices are stocked by people on a monthly or yearly basis.”
Spices gone bad
“Tamarind is known to leave water when it’s stored for a long time while jaggery tends to get soft and soggy. Dry red chillies (spicy variety) lose colour and taste when exposed to the sun for a very long time,” said a trader. “However, because of the strike, these chillies were lying in the transporters trucks or godowns.
Those lying in the trucks were exposed to the sun. As a result, although the on-going market value is Rs 75-80 per kg, we have no option but to sell them at a lower cost.” Yesterday, these chillies were being sold for around Rs 65-70. The worst-hit were the dark red dry chillies whose market value is Rs 130-150. These were lying in the godown during the strike were being sold at Rs 85.
FAM traders open shops
Mohan Gurnani, President of Federation of Associations of Maharashtra (FAM) has said that, until the state government announces the abolition of Local Body Tax (LBT), traders will continue with their agitation. Though the traders have opened shops honouring the advice given by the Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar, the stir against LBT will continue. The final decision on LBT will be taken in a meeting between various traders associations and Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan on May 24. Pawar will also be present at the meeting.