APMC traders threaten to launch indefinite trade bandh

APMC traders threaten to launch indefinite trade bandh if govt fails to reduce market fee

Minister for cooperation, S T Somashekhar told traders that he would discuss the matter at the cabinet meeting on December 28

Representative image. Credit: PTI Photo

Traders at the Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) yards have threatened to launch a state-wide trade bandh for an indefinite period if the state government does not reduce APMC market fee to 0.35 per cent as per the government order dated August 4.

The state government, which is looking at increasing its revenues, issued a fresh notification on December 15 giving effect to a hike in market fee to 1 per cent for all trade done inside market yards across the state. The government, on August 4, had reduced the market fee to 0.35 per cent from 1 per cent, while the traders had demanded for reduction to 0.20 per cent. 

"We want the government to roll back the fee hike with immediate effect. We have told the minister to also create a level-paying field for the traders, who trade in the APMC market yard as well as outside the market yard by fixing the same amount of market fee. If they cannot charge fees outside the market yards, they should at least abolish the entire market fee for all traders," Ramesh Chandra Lahoti, Chairman of APMC Committee, Federation of Karnataka Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FKCCI) told DH. 

During the stakeholders meeting on Wednesday, minister for cooperation, S T Somashekhar told traders that he would discuss the matter at the cabinet meeting on December 28. The traders have given an ultimatum of December 28 to revoke the market fee hike and have planned to launch a trade bandh if the government fails to act favourably.

The government is expected to generate around Rs 250 crore revenue if the market fee is fixed at 0.35 per cent, while the market fee at 1 per cent would yield in excess of Rs 600 crore. Lahoti said a rise in market fee will severely impact the business for merchants inside the market yards. "It would be unremunerative for traders to conduct the business by paying higher market fees," he said.

The stakeholders told the minister that the revenue to the government would double if they levy market fee for trade outside the market yards as well. Currently, there is no market fee for trading in 108 notified agricultural commodities outside the APMC market yards.

Somashekhar said that he would take up the matter for discussion during the upcoming state cabinet meeting on December 28 and take the approval for reversing the order.