Gultekdi market braces for another shutdown

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Threat of another shutdown looms large over the Gultekdi market as the stand-off between the commission agents and the Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) continues. The situation is worsening while the state government seems to be sitting on its promise to intervene in the issue of commission rates for vegetables, fruits and flowers.

The APMC administration has, in the mean time, launched an aggressive drive of suspending the operating licences of the agents not complying with the government directive of charging a flat 6 per cent commission on all transactions.

The APMC has till now suspended licences of 13 operators and the three-day deadline given to 535 more agents to respond to the suspension notice got over on Sunday. Agents have moved the Sessions court and obtained a stay order till December 19 when the case comes for the hearing. However, observers and traders have expressed concern over the APMC taking action against agents in the event of the stay being lifted. If that happens, all market sections except onion-potato will close down and farmers will be forced to sell their produce on their own.

"We have issued show-cause notices to a total of 548 commission agents and have suspended the licences of 13. The three days given to them for responding to the notice is over, but the agents have now approached the sessions court, which ordered a stay on suspensions till December 19," said B J Deshmukh, administrator of Pune APMC.

Deshmukh said the administration was planning to put an alternative system in place so that the suspensions do not affect the buying and selling activity at the market. For many years, the commission agents at the market yard have been earning 6 per cent commission on onion and potato, 8 per cent on other vegetables and fruits and 10 per cent on flowers.

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