The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has declared that all weekly vegetable markets (athawade bazar) within civic limits are illegal, after the civic body failed to reach an agreement with the Maharashtra State Agriculture Marketing Board (MSAMB). The PMC has now asked MSAMB to take action against these markets.
A state government initiative, dating back to 2016, had envisaged setting up of weekly vegetable markets in various parts of the city to enable farmers to sell their produce directly to consumers. The initiative was meant to ensure better realisation for farmers, as there would be no middleman to take a cut of the sale amount, and provide fresh vegetables to consumers at cheaper rates.
The PMC was supposed to provide vacant civic spaces for these weekly vegetable markets while the MSAMB had to register farmers, who would set up their stalls in allotted areas. But the MSAMB and the PMC are yet to sign an agreement over this, and “illegal” weekly vegetable markets have sprung up in various parts of the city.
“It has been observed that a lot of local vegetable traders are setting up their stalls in weekly markets. A lot of complaints are being received by PMC from various traders doing business in weekly vegetable markets,” said Madhav Jagtap, deputy municipal commissioner and in-charge of PMC anti-encroachment department.
He said the MSAMB is supposed to register farmers who have been allotted stalls in the weekly vegetable market and initiate action against illegal stall owners. “The MSAMB needs to appoint a nodal officer for proper implementation of the state government’s initiative to start a weekly vegetable market. It also needs to sign an agreement with the PMC for taking possession of civic land for the market,” said Jagtap.
There are at least 48 locations in the city where weekly vegetable markets are operational and all these markets are illegal, said the civic officer.
“The weekly vegetable market was specifically for farmers to sell their produce. But there are many stalls that sell fruits like apple and vegetables that are not produced here. It means these are hawkers taking advantage of the situation,” Jagtap said. These illegal stalls and markets also lead to traffic congestion, he said.
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