APMC fee hike: APMC traders warn of indefinite strike

APMC fee hike: APMC traders warn of indefinite strike

A file photo of the recent shutdown at APMC yard in Kalaburagi opposing the hike in market fee. DH Photo

Traders at the Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) yards have threatened to launch a state-wide trade bundh for an indefinite period if the state government does not reduce APMC market fee to 0.35% 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% for all trade done inside market yards across the state. The government, on August 4, had reduced the market fee to 0.35% from 1%, while the traders had demanded reduction to 0.20%.

“We want the government to roll back the fee hike with immediate effect. We have told the minister to also create a level-playing 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, the Minister for Cooperation, S T Somashekhar told traders that he would discuss the matter in 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%, while the market fee at 1% 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 stated that he would take up the matter for discussion during the upcoming Cabinet meeting on December 28 and take the approval for reversing the
order.