A week-long strike of Grain, Rice and Oilseeds Merchants Association (GROMA) ended after a meeting of traders at the Agriculture Produce Market Comittee (APMC), Vashi decided to call it off because they were incurring a loss of Rs 40 crore daily.
GROMA, which has been working for the welfare of traders and consumers for the last 114 years, called a strike on November 25, 2012, citing harassment by the State Food and Civil Supplies Department since July this year. The common man will face the burden of this strike since the prices of all essential commodities will rise.
The Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) grain market supplies about 90 per cent of the rice, pulses and other essential commodities to Mumbai. The strike of grain traders continued for one week and therefore there will be a shortage of essential commodities which will result in price rise. According to market analysts, there has already been a rise in prices in the retail market for the last couple of days.
Popatlal K Bhandari, joint secretary, GROMA, APMC Market, said, “We are the association which has been working for the last 114 years for the welfare of traders and consumers. We are victims of others misdeeds. More than Rs 6 crore worth of stock has been seized by the State Food and Civil Supplies Department since July this year. According to them, these stocks were kept in warehouses without the rationing department's knowledge, and exceed the permissible stock limit.”
He further added, “We were on strike for the last one week and have demanded that the stocks under seizure should be released as soon as possible and there should be infrastructure development at APMC. There are traders who do their business with a very small margin, and they are threatened with being pushed out of the market if their stocks are held for months unnecessarily.”
Speaking to FnB News about the infrastructure issues at APMC, Vashi, Bhandari said, “The city doesn't have enough warehouses and traders have to rely on private sources, which has added to their woes and needs additional paper work. Apart from that it has been difficult for traders to shift base from Mumbai to Navi Mumbai.”
Speaking on the condition of anonymity, a source from the APMC grain market informed, “On an average we were losing Rs 40 crore a day due to the strike. We can't be treated like slaves by the State Food and Civil Supplies Department. Even though we have ended our strike today we will continue to fight with the government officials until our demands are fulfilled.”
Kirti Rana, director, APMC Spices Market, said, “Not only we are losing business of around Rs 40 crore a day but those who get employment from this market are not able to earn their daily earnings. All the mathadi workers and other labourers who work in the APMC market are suffering due to the government apathy.”
He further added, “Even though the strike is over the traders will be selling the old stocks, they will not be bringing the fresh stocks for selling. The end of strike doesn't mean that we will keep quiet, but we will fight in our own way until our demands are fulfilled.”