Onion traders in Maharashtra’s Nashik district have staged a protest by suspending auctions at all Agriculture Produce Market Committees (APMCs), raising fears of a possible shortage of the kitchen staple and hike in retail prices. are
The protest is in response to the central government’s decision to increase export duty on onion by up to 40 percent, a move that will be effective till December 31.
The Nashik District Onion Traders Association (NDOTA) has announced its indefinite protest against the increase in export duty. Their decision to stop onion auctions at APMCs in the district is motivated by the belief that the government’s decision will not only hamper onion exports but also affect onions in transit, resulting in farmers There will be a lot of damage.
In response to the protest, the District Sub-Registrar of Co-operative Societies issued an order directing the APMC to suspend or cancel the licenses of the traders participating in the strike, till September 21. A report of outgoing operations is included.
Maharashtra Marketing Minister Abdul Sattar expressed his displeasure at the decision of traders’ bandh (auction bandh) and stressed the need to follow established rules.
He said that the secretaries of the cooperation and marketing departments would discuss appropriate procedures, while the district collector of Nashik was expected to take necessary steps.
Notably, onion auctions in most APMCs in Nashik district had already stopped since August 20, including the well-known Lasalgaon market. However, after not accepting their demands, they chose to stop the onion auction for an indefinite period.
The traders’ demands include cancellation of export duty on onion, 50% reduction in market fee, inclusion of National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India (NAFED) and National Cooperative Consumer Federation of India (NCCF) in auctions, and 50% subsidy on onion transportation.
As a result of these protests, no onion auction was held in any APMC of Nashik district on the specified day and no onion arrived at the APMC.
The government order highlighted that Khandu Dewar, president of the Nashik District Onion Traders Association, had written a letter to Minister Sattar on September 13, warning of his demands and a boycott of the auction starting from September 19. was
Minister Sattar then scheduled a meeting with officials of the marketing department on September 26 and urged the traders to postpone their protest.
However, the traders and brokers persisted in their stand, due to which an order for immediate legal action was issued.
Under the Maharashtra Agriculture Produce Marketing (Development and Regulation) Act, 1963, all APMCs are required to make alternate arrangements to ensure continuous sale and purchase of agricultural produce under such circumstances.
APMCs have the power to suspend or cancel the licenses of traders participating in the strike. The order emphasized that APMCs should immediately implement these measures and issue licenses to new buyers interested in purchasing goods at APMCs. Failure to comply with the order may result in action against the Board of Directors and the Secretary of the APMC.
In summary, onion traders in Maharashtra’s Nashik district have been protesting against the government’s increase in export duty on onions, resulting in the indefinite suspension of auctions at the APMC. . The protest has raised concerns about possible onion shortage and price hike, prompting the government to direct the APMC to take action against the striking traders. Traders have put forward several demands, talks are going on to resolve the issues.
First Published: 21 Sep 2023, 14:35 IST