Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, February 21
The government is all set to introduce a Bill in the ongoing Assembly session to permit establishment of private and seasonal market yards and direct sale of agricultural produce to consumers in retail.
The move comes less than a month after Punjab amended its rules to allow setting up of special and private market mandis. The move has evoked a sharp reaction from arhtiyas, who allege that the Bill, if passed, will ruin their business and harm the interests of farmers.
A draft of the Haryana Agriculture Produces Markets (Amendment) Bill, 2020, has been sent by the state government to the Legal Remembrancer for vetting. The Bill will, in all likelihood, be tabled in the ongoing Budget session.
Section 8-D of the amendment permits the government to grant a licence to establish private market yards for trading of any or all notified agricultural produce.
According to the draft Bill, such private market yard licensee, or its management, will be allowed to register commission agents and other functionaries to operate in the licensed private market yard.
The draft Bill authorises the Chief Administrator of the Haryana State Agriculture Marketing Board to notify any enclosure, building or locality in a market area as a seasonal market yard, which shall be established, maintained and operated primarily in the harvesting season of that particular crop.
The draft Bill also allows direct marketing, in wholesale as well as retail, of the agricultural produce from farmers to consumers outside the market yard, establishment and promotion of electronic trading platforms and declaration of warehouses, silos, cold storage or other such structures or places as market sub-yards.
“The government is out to ruin our business due to indifferent attitude towards over 40,000 arhtiyas and 1 lakh clerks in grain markets across the state,” alleged Ashok Gupta, president of the Haryana State Arhtiya Association.
“The move is an attempt to give big businessmen a licence to loot farmers. Big businessmen will, like the East India Company, make farmers their slaves. We will become their clerks and clerks will be forced to work as labourers,” he claimed.
Sanjeev Kaushal, Additional Chief Secretary, Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Department, said the apprehensions of arhtiyas were unfounded. He said the move was meant for the welfare of farmers while traders would not lose anything.
“This is a part of the exercise to implement the Centre’s Model Act on Agriculture Marketing. Punjab has already done this. The Prime Minister has constituted a committee of Chief Ministers for implementation of the Central Act. This Bill is an effort in that direction,” Kaushal said.
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