Mathadis, traders to strike on Mon­day

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - NAVI - G Mo­hi­ud­din Jeddy ht­for­nav­i­mum­bai@hin­dus­tan­

The state gov­ern­ment’s de­ci­sion to ex­empt veg­eta­bles, fruits, onion and po­tato from the purview of the Agri­cul­ture Pro­duce Mar­ket Com­mit­tee (APMC) mar­kets in the state has been op­posed by mathadis and traders.

The con­stituents of the APMC mar­ket in Vashi, the big­gest in the state, will down shut­ters on July 4 to protest the cab­i­net’s de­ci­sion. All the APMCs in the state are ex­pected to join the strike.

The gov­ern­ment has de­cided to get rid of the mid­dle­men and al­low farm­ers to sell their pro­duce di­rectly in mar­kets, by­pass­ing APMCs in the state. At present, all pro­duce has to first come to the APMC mar­ket, where the re­tail­ers make their pur­chases through bro­kers.

A meet­ing at­tended by hun­dreds of mathadis and traders at APMC on Thurs­day, re­solved to fight the de­ci­sion.

MLC Naren­dra Patil, gen­eral sec­re­tary of Ma­ha­rash­tra Ra­jya Mathadi Trans­port and Gen­eral Kam­gar Union, said: “The gov­ern­ment is out to fin­ish the mathadis and the traders who have served the state for years and have fa­cil­i­tated the sale of the farm­ers’ pro­duce. This seems to ben­e­fit top multi­na­tion­als and cor­po­rate houses.”

He said, “There are over 30,000 mathadis and 15,000 daily wage work­ers in the APMC mar­kets apart from thou­sands of traders and their em­ploy­ees to­talling to around 1 lakh peo­ple.”

He said, “Su­gar, pulses and other items have al­ready been ex­empted from APMC. If veg­eta­bles and fruits too are ex­empted, the wholesale mar­ket will shut and all its con­stituents will be un­em­ployed.”

MLA Shashikant Shinde, work­ing pres­i­dent of the mathadi union, said: “The bandh is a first step in our agi­ta­tion. If the gov­ern­ment doesn’t re­lent, we will in­ten­sify our agi­ta­tion.”

San­jay Pansare, for­mer APMC di­rec­tor and a trader, said: “A meet­ing of traders and mathadis from all over the state will be held on Mon­day. We will send a strong mes­sage to the gov­ern­ment.”

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