Karnataka Bureau

Dealers in the perishable commodities to close shop today

Transporters too may join strike in the next few days

Panic buying by retailers, householders

Bangalore: The availability of fruit and vegetables in the State is likely to be affected from Friday, with wholesale and retail dealers in these perishable items joining the ongoing strike by traders and farmers against the amendments to the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) Act.

Siraz Pasha of the Bangalore Fruit Commission Agents Association said fruit and vegetable traders in Kalasipalyam, who conducted some transactions on Thursday to clear existing stock, would close shop on Friday. The traders would take out a procession on Saturday. Transporters too were expected to join the strike within the next few days if the Government did not hold talks on the amendments, he said.

Panic buying

A fear of scarcity of commodities has led to panic buying by retail vendors and householders. Mysore, for instance, saw prices of vegetables shooting up in the wholesale market on Thursday. The heat will be felt in the retail market from Friday onwards, said traders. The prices of vegetables went up in the range of Rs. 1 to Rs. 4 a kg in Mysore. The strike has affected traders and farmers from across the border as well. Vegetables such as carrot and cabbage come to the State from Ooty and tomato from the State is sold in Kerala.

HOPCOMS outlets

The Horticultural Producers Cooperative Marketing Society (HOPCOMS) has said its outlets will not be affected by the strike. Mr. Pasha, however, contended that HOPCOMS too would be partially hit because many outlets augment their stocks by buying from wholesale dealers.

R.C. Lahoti, president of the Bangalore Wholesale Foodgrains and Pulses Merchants Association, said the strike was growing in strength with more traders joining from Friday. Traders at the Yeshwantpur APMC Yard in Bangalore took out a rally from the yard to Yeshwantpur Circle on Thursday. Mr. Lahoti hoped that retail traders too would join the strike by Saturday.

Goodwill gesture

The strike in the APMC yards has hit daily wage earning hamalis badly. As a goodwill gesture, traders are providing midday meal to them in Davangere, an important trading centre in the State.

Davangere APMC president Sathish Koolenahalli has appealed to vegetable, fruit and flower merchants not to stop their business as they are perishable commodities. He appealed to them to support the APMC strike by wearing black badges.

Farmers hit

In Bijapur district, farmers could not find a market for their produce at the APMC yards for the second consecutive day. Those who had brought perishable commodities were the worst hit.

Some unofficial transactions were carried out in the yards based on an understanding between farmers and traders.