In what is seen as the phase two of market reforms, the state government has decided to from a special committee to give suggestions for the formation of a new board of directors of Mumbai wholesale market. The committee, headed by marketing director Sunil Pawar, has been asked to submit its report in a month’s time.
The trade in agricultural commodities in the terminal wholesale market of Vashi in Navi Mumbai is carried out mostly between traders. With an annual turnover of around Rs 18-20,000 crore, the market sees the arrival of agricultural commodities from across the state as well from other parts of the country. Vashi market is one of the few markets whose catchment area has little or no agricultural activities.
Subhash Mane, the then marketing director, had suspended the board of director of Vashi market on charges of corruption in 2014. At present, a board of administrator is running the market and talks are on for appointing an IAS officer as the chairman of the market. Other than Pawar, the new committee has representatives from Solapur and the deputy secretary of the Mumbai market.
Wholesale markets, which have been traditionally controlled by either the NCP or the Congress, has been on the radar of the Devendra Fadnavis government. Delisting of fruits and vegetables and changing the manner of election of directors for the market committees have been two major reforms carried out by the present government. Traders in the Mumbai market were at the forefront of the protest against delisting of fruits and vegetables last year.
Earlier this year, the state government had given in-principle nod to allow for elections of directors from gram panchyats in the catchment areas of the wholesale markets. Rajendra Shelke, president of the onion and potato traders and commission agents union, said the new body should ensure the directors should know about the functioning of the markets. “The committee should be balanced and work without political interference,” he said.