Traders rue re-imposition of fee on poultry, agro products

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Ambika Sharma

Tribune News Service

Solan, February 15

Wholesale traders selling various poultry and agro products such as eggs, milk, sugar, jaggery, pulses, etc, outside the Agriculture Produce Marketing Committees (APMCs) are up in arms against the state government for reimposing market fee on them.

The government had suspended the implementation of the Himachal Pradesh Agriculture and Horticulture Produce Marketing (Development and Regulation) Act, 2005, which allows the government to collect the market fee, after the enactment of the three Central farm laws last year.

At a time when farmers are protesting the enactment of the three farm laws, the traders in the state are feeling aggrieved at the decision to put on hold their implementation. The government earns crores of rupees as market fee every year and it has lost revenue after it was suspended.

After the Supreme Court stayed the implementation of the Central laws on January 12, all state governments were directed by the Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare to comply with the directions. The market fee has once again been reimposed on these commodities sold by wholesale traders.

Mukesh Gupta, president, Solan Beopar Mandal, said, “It is not fair to impose one per cent market fee on essential commodities such as milk, lentil, jaggery and sugar, which are neither produced locally nor sold at the mandis in the state. Traders had heaved a sigh of relief when this fee was suspended after the Central farm laws were enacted but its re-imposition entails an undue monetary burden”.

The Solan Beopar Mandal has also made a representation to the Chief Minister to not impose the market fee on various poultry and agro products sold by the wholesale traders operating outside the APMCs.

The APMCs have closed check posts erected along the national highways in June 2020, where this fee was collected. All employees posted there have also been directed to report at the APMC offices after the implementation of the Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Production and Fcailitation) Ordinance, 2020. This arrangement will once again resume.

Sanjeev Kashyap, Chairman of Solan APMC, said that since the Supreme Court had stayed the implementation of the Central laws, the government had re-imposed the market fee on traders operating outside the APMCs.