Mathadis, traders to strike on Monday
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.”