Nearly after a month after his application, S D Mane, who heads the directorate of marketing, Government of Maharashtra, is set to be provided police protection by the Pune police commissionerate. The decision was taken on Saturday.
Joint Commissioner of Police Sanjay Kumar said that security would be provided to Mane for a month and it would be reviewed later.
Appointed the marketing director in March, Mane’s decision to tackle irregularities in the Agricultural Marketing Committees (APMC) in the state did not go down well with many. Last month, Mane had dismissed the board of directors of APMC, Mumbai for its alleged role in the Rs 180 crore FSI scam. Since then, several board members had allegedly threatened Mane through various platforms.
Mane’s office had on June 12 sent a request for police protection which had gone unanswered. He later sent out two reminders, which too went unanswered. When asked about the delay in providing police protection, Kumar said, “We followed the proper procedure and there was no delay in the process,” he said. Kumar also said Mane could have called up the police commissioner if he wanted to.
Mane’s action against the APMC Mumbai was stayed by the State Agriculture Minister Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil. Also, Mane was suddenly transferred but was reinstated following a directive from the Maharashtra Administrative Tribunal (MAT).
Mane’s office is the controlling, licensing and regulating authority of the 300-plus APMCs in the state. Also, this office handles the licences of direct marketing for the organised retails and private APMCs.
APMC markets facilitate the selling of agricultural produce by farmers. While farmers group are supposed to be represented on the boards of APMC, in reality, majority of the representatives are from established political parties. Farmers’ groups have been protesting against malpractice in the APMC and the vicious grip that the traders and commission agents cartel hold over the pricing of the products.
Mane had taken action in the Pune APMC, too, which had led to resentment in certain sections. In Pune APMC, Mane had asked for review of the way the loaders apply taxes and also raised other administrative issues.