Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) workers in Karnataka on Monday staged a protest in support of the farmers’ agitation against the new agriculture reform laws and hike in the market fee by the state government recently.
The workers and traders shut down their operations in APMC market in Yeshwanthpura in North Bengaluru and staged a sit-in demanding the repeal of the three farm laws while terming them “anti farmer”. The APMC traders also demanded withdrawal of the APMC (amendment) Bill, 2020, which proposed a hike in the market fee from 0.35 per cent to one per cent of the transaction value.
Earlier this month, the BJP government led by Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa passed the APMC Bill through a voice vote amid a walkout by Congress.
Ramesh Chandra Lahoti, chairman of Bengaluru APMC federation, said the APMCs had an annual turnover of Rs 40,000 crore and more than 80 per cent farmers depended on APMCs to sell their produce. “The new Bill is not going to just dismantle the APMC system in the state but will also lead to unemployment of about two lakh APMC workers,” he said.
The APMC federation in the state is also planning an indefinite protest from Wednesday. The retail and wholesale traders said it would lead to an adverse effect in vegetables and groceries supply chain.
Lahoti said the hike in the fees to one per cent amid the pandemic would hurt the interest of businessmen, labourers as well as the farmers.
“This is nothing but indirectly shutting down APMC markets. Our profit margin is less than two percent and we cannot transfer the burden to the farmers. A meeting will be held with members of the Federation of Karnataka Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FKCCI) and further course of action will be chalked out,” he added.
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