Confusion over Maharashtra govt move on below-MSP sales keeps traders on edge

By: | Published: August 31, 2018 1:17 AM

According to the new proposal of the state government, traders would be arrested if they purchase goods such as grains and pulses below MSP.

Several Agriculture Produce Market Committees (APMCs) in Maharashtra are shut with traders refusing to participate in auctions due to fear of being arrested.

Confusion among the trading community in Maharashtra over the new proposed MSP law failed to get much needed clarity on Thursday.

According to the new proposal of the state government, traders would be arrested if they purchase goods such as grains and pulses below MSP.

Several Agriculture Produce Market Committees (APMCs) in Maharashtra are shut with traders refusing to participate in auctions due to fear of being arrested. Most of markets, which deal in grains and pulses are shut since past one week with traders demanding guarantee of protection and no coercive action should be taken against them.

Anand Jogdand, director, Maharashtra State Agriculture Marketing Board (MSAMB) said that as per the present law, the licences of traders can be cancelled if they purchase grains below MSP and there is no provision under the present Act to penalize traders.

The new amendment is required to be tabled before the Cabinet before being implemented, he said.

However, Walchand Sancheti, President, Federation of Association of Traders (Maharashtra) said he met chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Wednesday and the CM has said that no such amendment to the Act has been passed.

“However, the office of the CMO has tweeted about this issue and we also have a copy of a release issued by the office. Even if it is stated that the amendment to the Act has not been passed, the present provision provides for cancellation of licences if a trader purchases below MSP, which is again a serious issue,” he said.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, some senior officials pointed out that the the amendment has been proposed in the APMC Act and this could happen anytime. Major markets in the state are closed because of this fear and the Federation will hold a meeting on September 3 to decide its future action.

Our demand is that no such coercive action should be taken against traders and the government should scrap the provision which says that the licenses of traders can be cancelled if they purchase below MSP. Lalit Kumar Shah, chairman, Latur APMC said that government officials have been in touch with him and have said that no such amendment has been passed and therefore trade should continue.

However, talks with traders fell through since they are not willing to believe this unless it is given in writing. Another meeting will be held on Friday with traders to see if things can be worked out, he said. He said that the government is likely to call a meeting with traders next week to ask them to state their side before any decision is taken. Traders however were in no mood to listen.

Pandurang Mundada, president, Latur Puse and Grain Merchants Association said, “the merchats had asked the chairman of Latur APMC to provide a letter in writing from the DDR that no coercive action would be taken against them.”

“The DDR has informed us that he is not in a position to give this in writing. How are we to believe that no action will be taken against us. Another meeting will be held on Friday and I will place these issues before the traders, Let us see what happens,” he said.

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