Farmer leader and Hatkhanagale MP Raju Shetti has criticised the state government’s move to penalise traders for purchase of commodities below their Minimum Support Price (MSP). Shetti’s oganisation, Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghtana (SSS), has demanded immediate resumption of markets, which have witnessed suspension of trade, with traders boycotting auctions in protest against the proposed decision.
Last week, the state cabinet had decided to recommend an amendment to the Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) Act ,1963, and prescribed a year’s jail for traders and a fine of Rs 50,000 for purchasing commodities below their MSP. Indignant traders have been boycotting auctions since then and farmers have failed to get buyers for their produce. Contradictory statements from the state government have added to the confusion. Traders have decided to meet in Pune on Monday to decide on the future course of action.
Shetti, in his statement, said the private member bill, introduced by him along with some other MPs in the Parliament, has talked about a similar provision. “However, this can only be implemented if it is a nation-wide arrangement…,” he said. In such a situation, Shetti said, farmers would be at a loss as traders would boycott the auctions. “Some of them would resort to buying from other states to run their processing operations,” he said.