Housing societies in Maharashtra will now be allowed to set up a 100-square feet shop inside their premises for selling farm produce to their members.
As per the orders issued by the Maharashtra government, the society itself can run these shops through its managing committee.
Alternatively, societies can allot these to an agro company, a farmer-producer organisation (FPO), or a women self-help group (SHG), by way of a conducting agreement.
The new scheme, which has been incorporated into the government’s Atal Mahapanan Vikas Abhiyaan, is aimed at cutting down the role of middlemen in the sale of vegetables, milk and other farm produce.
The state’s cooperatives department, which issued orders in this regard last week, said the initiative would ensure that urban families got fresh farm produce at cheaper rates while providing farmers a better price for their produce.
Incidentally, the department has observed that the shops could even be erected in the open space inside the society. A senior building proposals department official in the Mumbai municipality, however, pointed out that building a pucca shop in such open spaces might lead to floor space index and fire-safety violations. The government’s order puts the onus on the housing societies to obtain requisite permissions. The society will need to tie up with an agro company or an FPO for the supply of farm produce at pre-determined rates to the society. The government has permitted the society to collect additional charges for the upkeep and the maintenance of the shop from the members.
It has also permitted the option of allowing the direct sale of farm produce inside housing societies using a mobile van facility.