In line with Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhis strategy to contain price rise in Congress-ruled states before the Lok Sabha elections,the Uttarakhand government has decided to keep fruits and vegetables out of the purview of Uttarakhand Agriculture Produce Marketing (Development and Regulation) Act (UAPMA),2011. A total of 93 agriculture produces (fruits and vegetables) were deleted from the notified list. This means no market levy will be charged on them.
Chairman of Uttarakhand Agriculture Produce Marketing Board Shailendra Mohan Singhal said a notification was issued late on Monday night. We will assess the impact of the decision on containing price rise, Singhal told The Indian Express. He evaded questions on revenue losses the board will incur following the decision. The board will lose Rs 8 to 9 crore per year because of the decision to exclude fruits and vegetables from UAPMA list. According to sources,the boards total income from mandies (wholesale markets) is around Rs 50 crore.
Sources said the decision to exempt fruits and vegetables from market fees will not have a major impact on efforts to contain price rise. It would hardly reduce prices of fruits and vegetables by two per cent. The mandies get about 2.5 per cent of the total price as market fee. Apart from this,the adhatis (commission agents) charge about 3 per cent from retailers or traders. It would be a difficult task for mandies to stop adhaties from charging commissions on purchases from farmers, a source said explaining problems the board would face after this decision.
The decision is set to hit the plan to set up new mandies in hill areas. Two-thirds of Uttarakhand is hilly and mandies exist mainly in the plains. In the hills,there is little scope for foodgrain production.
The marketing board has initiated steps to set up mandies at least in seven places in hilly areas. At Karnaprayag,the mandy is in final shape, a source in the board said. According to him,the fund is raised from market fees the board earns. Mandies proposed to be set up in hilly areas have great scope for increasing business of fruits and vegetables,he added.