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No decision yet on amending APMC Act

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Special Correspondent

Views of farmers will be considered: Darshanapur

GULBARGA: Agriculture Marketing Minister Sharanabasappa Darshanapur on Saturday clarified that the State Government had not taken any final decision on the contentious issue of amendment to the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) Act based on the model amendment proposed by the Union Government and said the pros and cons of the amendment would be discussed with Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy before changing the law.

Draft sought

Mr. Darshanapur said a team of senior officials, who had visited various States that had amended the APMC Act, had presented a report.

He had asked the officials to prepare a draft of the amendment to the Act.

He said the draft would be first discussed with the Chief Minister and if found agreeable, it would be placed before the Cabinet.

Mr. Darshanapur said none of the States, which had amended the law, had implemented all of Centre's suggestions in this regard.

The views expressed by farmers' organisations, traders and other sections of society would be taken into consideration by the Government before taking any decision on the issue.

The Minister said the States that had fallen in line with the Centre's directions on the amendment to the APMC Act had been given preferential treatment in the sanctioning the aided projects for improving the agriculture produce marketing facilities.

The Centre had provided special funds for creating marketing hub in cities and terminal market facilities in these States.

To a question, the Minister said the State Government would not take any hasty step in this regard.

It would consult all presidents of the APMCs in the State and take a final decision after taking into consideration the interests of farmers and traders.

The amendment to the APMC Act would open up the retail market to foreign players. This had been one of the major points haunting traders.

The advent of foreign companies and the provisions proposed in the amendment mooted by the Centre opened room for contract farming in the agriculture sector.

This was opposed by farmers' organisations on the plea that it would pose a threat to food security of the country.

Election

Mr. Darshanapur said election of the APMC Board vice-president, which had not been held for two years would be held on April 17 in Bangalore and one of the representatives of the presidents of various APMCs in the State would be elected as vice-president.

The Agriculture Marketing Minister would be the President of the board, which is the apex body of all APMCs in the State, he said.

He said there were various proposals before the Government for establishing sub-yards and main marketing yards in different taluks and a final decision would be taken at the earliest.

The Minister clarified that the Government was yet to take a decision on reducing the market cess collected from farmers in the APMC markets from 1.5 per cent to 1 per cent and a decision would be taken at the earliest.

The Minister had proposed to the Finance Minister to reduce the cess by 0.5 per cent to help farmers.

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