Pune: Weekly farmers’ markets which are being operated at 70 places across the city are proving to be of great value to citizens and farmers, but the civic body has claimed that these weekly markets are being operated by encroaching roadside area and amenity spaces. Considering these violations, corporation and Agriculture Marketing Board have suggested that the government should revise its policy and make it mandatory for those who want to run these markets to take permission from local bodies.
Earlier, officials from Anti-Encroachment Department had initiated action against markets obstructing traffic, but local political leaders urged ministers to intervene in the matter.
The weekly markets are being operated in the city as per the circular of the government of Maharashtra in 2016. The circular empowered the civic body to formulate a policy which was named ‘Farmers’ Weekly Market-Municipal Corporation Policy’ to organise farmers’ weekly market at the municipal corporation level. As per the policy, amenity space lands in possession of the municipal corporation, as well as vacant plots in PMC’s possession were to be made available. The policy mentioned that these plots will be made available after a proposal from Maharashtra State Agriculture Marketing Board, Pune, to organise the farmers’ weekly market, for one day of the week i.e., Saturday or Sunday, by paying the approved land rent.
Speaking on the issue, Madhav Jagtap of Anti-Encroachment Department of PMC said, “The civic body prepared a policy based on the State government’s decision of boosting weekly market concept in which, everything from permission, fees, land etc has been mentioned. Earlier, Farmer Cooperative Societies started weekly markets in some part of the city. Later, local political leaders took charge of weekly markets and started charging fees from farmers.
“They also allowed other local vegetable vendors and now, in most of the areas, local vendors are operating in the weekly market. Hence, in most of the weekly markets, farmers are not selling their produce.”
The policy stated that to organise farmers’ weekly market on vacant plots of the city that are owned by the municipal corporation, suitable places will be selected after proper inspection of the places carried out by the municipal corporation along with the Agriculture Marketing Board, Pune. The Agriculture Marketing Board, Pune will submit a proposal requesting for selected places, along with the necessary documents and pay fees to the municipal corporation.
However, local political party leaders are organising weekly markets without taking any permission and collecting Rs 400 per stall holders, where the corporation has decided a fee of Rs 100 per stall of 10 feet x 10 feet space in the policy.
When asked Assistant General Manager of Pune Agriculture Marketing Board about the weekly markets, he refused to comment on the current scenario. He said, “We are updating weekly market guidelines and we will let you know about the same.”