September 5, 2021 3:54:37 am
BJP-ruled Uttar Pradesh has kept “‘in abeyance” the construction of new Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) mandis after one of the three contentious farm laws that allows transactions outside APMC market yards was implemented last year, show Assembly records.
The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act came into force on June 5, 2020. Farmers protesting against the laws say this Act bypasses existing APMC mandis and will lead to the end of the mandi system.
Records show that Uttar Pradesh’s Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Agricultural Marketing and Agricultural Foreign Trades, Sriram Chauhan, informed the state Assembly that the government was focusing on upgrading existing mandis rather than building new ones.
He also informed the Assembly that the mandi revenue had taken a hit after the farm laws were implemented.
The other two laws are the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020; and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.
Chauhan said in a written reply in Hindi to the Assembly on August 19: “A Mandi is established on the basis of number of licensees in an area and revenue generated from that area, but in the changed circumstances in view of the Ordinance/Act passed on 05th June 2020 no mandi fee is liable to be paid outside the [mandi] premises, as a result of which mandi revenue is being adversely affected.”
“As far as the construction of new mandis is concerned, the Board of Directors, in its meeting held on 13.06.2020, has decided that in changed circumstances, instead of new construction, emphasis should be laid on the repair and modernization of the already created infrastructure facilities, so that the system of agricultural marketing can be strengthened. Accordingly the construction work of new mandis has been kept in abeyance at present,” he said.
In a written reply to another question, Chauhan informed the Assembly that the jurisdiction of the APMC mandis has also been “restricted” to physical boundaries of the mandi and sub-mandi sites.
As per information available on the website of the Uttar Pradesh State Agriculture Produce Market Board, revenue from mandis has come down to Rs 979.78 crore in 2020-21 from Rs 1,986.68 crore in 2019-20. One of the reasons for the decline in mandi revenue could be a reduction in transaction fee (popularly known as mandi tax) which the state government reduced from 2 per cent to 1 per cent last year.
Farmers are demanding the repeal of three contentious farm laws. They have rejected the government’s offer of amending these laws.
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