The new BJP government in Maharashtra has made its intentions clear to ease the NCP-Congress stranglehold on Agricultural Produce Market Committees (APMCs), that control markets for agriculture produce.
New cooperatives minister Chandrakant Patil, in his first meeting of the Maharashtra State Agricultural Marketing Board (MSAMB) to take stock of agricultural produce marketing in the state, said the government will not grant more extensions to 100 market committees across Maharashtra whose terms have expired. Elections to these boards have to be held once in five years but have not taken place.
Such committees will be dismissed and new government administrators will be brought in, the ministers said in Mumbai on Thursday night.
There are 302 APMCs in Maharashtra and 300 are active. Of these, 100 are being managed by administrative boards led by nominees of either NCP or the Congress. Around 67 APMCs are being run by administrators and 39 are managed by administrative boards. The APMC in Vashi, Mumbai, is on a six-month extension. The Pune, Haveli and Amravati APMCs are among those being run by administrative boards. A major overhaul of the APMCs is expected.
Patil has warned the APMCs against cheating farmers by manipulating weights and has ordered them to switch to electronic weighing systems immediately. He also told them fresh licenses would not be issued if they fail to comply or neglect to provide basic amenities to farmers at the APMCs. They will have to provide clean drinking water and toilets at the APMCs, he said.