Minister of State for Agriculture Sadabhau Khot today urged Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to decontrol pulses and cereals and remove them from the control of the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committees (APMCs).
Khot said that the move aims at ending the hegemony of traders and political control over APMCs.
In his letter addressed to the chief minister, Khot said considering the bumper production of cereals and pulses in the state and with a view to give relief to farmers it is necessary that these commodities are removed from the control of the APMCs.
He urged Fadnavis to take appropriate action in decontrolling of pulses and cereals.
"The move will only benefit the farmers who will get better procurement price for their produce if they are allowed to sell directly in the open market," Khot said.
He added that the government has already decontrolled the vegetables and the farmers are now free to sell their vegetable produce directly in open market.
"However, as per the provisions of the Maharashtra Agricultural Produce Marketing (Development and Regulation) Act, 1963, farmers producing pulses and cereals are not allowed to sell their pulses and cereals in the open market," he said.
If the farmers try to sell pulses and cereals in open market, their produce can be seized, criminal action can be initiated and fines can be imposed as per the provisions of the 1963 law, he said.
At present there are 306 state controlled APMCs in the state, of which 70 to 75 per cent of the APMCs are politically controlled by opposition Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP). Besides these there are 24 APMCs which are private.
Khot said that when the government decided to remove vegetable produce from the control of the APMCs the opposition Congress and NCP had vehemently opposed the government's move as it undermined their political clout.
He said the farmers producing pulses and cereals are the worst affected in the current agrarian crisis.
"Farmers who rely on irrigation in dry and arid regions of the state cultivate pulses and cereals. It is these dry and arid areas of Vidarbha and Marathwada regions of the state which depend on irrigation is where farmers are committing suicides," he said.
"Already NGOs like NAAM Foundation are bringing farmers produce like pulses and cereals to metro cities in the state," Khot said.
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