Farmers' bazaar blames PMC for harassment

ST Correspondent
Friday, 9 March 2018

"We have used a space which was earlier just a garbage dump. We clean it and keep it well maintained. We do not indulge in encroachment either," said Narendra Pawar of Swami Samarth FPC.

PUNE: While the State and Central governments are making a push for boosting direct farmers' markets and Farmer Producer Companies (FPC), a farmers' weekly market in Pune is alleging unnecessary harassment by the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC).

The weekly bazaar, run by the Swami Samarth FPC, has been running for almost three years at Dasra Chowk in Balewadi. After an attempt to close the bazaar last week, the PMC sent the bazaar, a notice on March 5. The FPC says that it has used open space in the area for the bazaar. "We have used a space which was earlier just a garbage dump. We clean it and keep it well maintained. We do not indulge in encroachment either," said Narendra Pawar of Swami Samarth FPC.

"Last week's bazaar was also interrupted by civic officials. The residents, who are regular buyers at the bazaar, intervened and protested the shutting down of the bazaar," said Pawar, adding, "We just use that space for four hours on every Thursday. Yet, the PMC has sent us a notice about shutting down the activity."

Pawar also claimed that their FPC has written to authorities multiple times to allow them the use the space. "The State government has begun implementation of the Sant Shiromani Savta Mali policy of promoting FPCs and direct farm produce sale. We have written to the authorities to allow us the use of such spaces and offered to pay for usage of the space," said Pawar, adding, "None of the authorities have responded to our requests. It's not like we want to use this land for free. We just ask that unless the land is proposed to be used by the PMC, let us use it for a good purpose."

"The PMC allows hawkers and other businesses thrive even on encroachments. When we farmers are using a space responsibly, only then they have a problem," said Pawar.

MARKET FOR 4.5K FARMERS
- Swami Samarth FPC organises many bazaars all over the State and organisers claim that almost everywhere, this is a recurring issue.
- They have 24 such bazaars, giving a market to 4,500 farmers and employing 750 people with a turnover of almost Rs 100 crore a year, the organisers claimed.

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