The move followed concerns that experts close to the BJP had been appointed as experts in a bid to control the bodies, which are mainly affiliated to the NCP and Congress.
Chief minister Uddhav Thackeray-led Maharashtra cabinet has decided to scrap the appointments of technical experts brought in by the previous Devendra Fadnavis-led government on Agriculture Produce Market Committees (APMCs).
The move followed concerns that experts close to the BJP had been appointed as experts in a bid to control the bodies, which are mainly affiliated to the NCP and Congress. The Fadnavis government had introduced an amendment in the APMC Act in 2015 to allow the state the right to appoint technical experts on APMCs. The government has also decided to exclude this provision made in 2015 in the Maharashtra Agricultural Produce Marketing (Regulation) Act 1963. “The appointments of the expert directors in the APMCs were made from June 2015. The state Cabinet has also given approval to promulgate an ordinance to cancel the provision included in the Act in 2015,” said an official. This move by the government is likely to affect the appointment of nearly 376 technical experts or directors in 182 market committees in Maharashtra.
As per the provision introduced by the previous government, technical experts from the field of agriculture, agri-processing, agriculture marketing, law, economics and commerce were appointed on the market committees by the government. At least 4-5 directors were appointed on market committees with pay packages exceeding Rs 5 crore and two directors were invited on committees with less than Rs 2-crore salary. These appointments had allowed the BJP to ensure its presence in the rural markets. In many cases, technical directors had made written complaints about the working of the markets, which, in some cases, had led to the dismissal of the board of directors in these markets.
This had prompted the Maharashtra State Federation of Market Committees to move the Bombay High Court to challenge this decision.
According to government sources, Congress and NCP continue to hold sway over 300 APMCs, the predominantly rural socio-economic centres of power in Maharashtra. Most Congress and NCP leaders, who have high stakes in the various cooperative institutions, are in power and seem to be making attempts to undo the decisions taken by the previous government, said an official.
Highly placed government sources said that to induct and remove technical experts are both political decisions. When you have an elected board, there is no need to have an additional director or technical director that too without voting rights, government sources said, adding that the expertise of these directors was also