It was an amusing scene at forecourt of Vidhan Bhavan on Sunday with Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis haggling with sellers at Sant Shiromani Shri Savta Mali Athavda Bazar that he inaugurated earlier in the morning.
The weekly-market is an initiative of the government which enables farmers to sell their produce directly to consumers at affordable prices, leaving out the middlemen.
Sources in the Chief Minister Office said Fadnavis bought tomato, cucumber, methi and other vegetables for Rs 200.
Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, Fadnavis said the aim of these weekly markets – a typical fixture in rural Maharashtra – will greatly benefit consumers in buying vegetables and fruits under one roof at affordable prices.
The weekly market is being set up across the state by the Maharashtra State Agriculture Produce Marketing Board with participation from departments of Cooperation, Marketing and Textiles.
“The main aim of organising these weekly bazars is to free farmers from the clutches of the middlemen and also the consumers who can buy vegetables and fruits at affordable prices.
“At the weekly bazar, the consumers will get farm fresh vegetables that are weighed on electronic scales and priced at reasonable rates. The farmers will get the right to fix the price of their produce and get an authorised outlet to sell their produce,” Fadnavis said.
At present, there are 27 such outlets in Pune, 3 in Nagpur and one at Thane. These weekly bazars will be organised on a fixed day of a week and shall sell vegetables and fruits produced in Maharashtra only.
The farmers will get training from the officials of the Cooperation and Marketing departments.
In an official statement, the government said the expenses incurred on facilities like booking amount of the plot of land, furniture, drinking water, light, waste disposal, parking and security shall be borne jointly by the farmers, farmers’ groups and farmers’ companies.
The selection of the sponsor for the weekly market shall be done by the marketing board. However, sale of raw, semi-ripe, rotten, broken or over-ripe agriculture produce will not be allowed to be sold at the weekly markets, the statement said.