BENGALURU : The bustling APMC yard at Yeshwanthpur wears a deserted look nowadays because of the impact of Covid and amendments made to the APMC Act last year. Of 1,000 outlets that were operational here, nearly 300 dealing with rice, wheat and pulses have ceased to conduct their daily business.
Ramesh Chandra Lahoti, president, Yeshwanthpur yard, said business has been dull, forcing these outlets to shut. “Nearly 1,000 of the 2,200 licence holders were active. But now, only 700 shops are doing business. The second Covid wave impacted traders more than the first,” he said.
He attributed two major reasons for the drop in business — mass free distribution of foodgrains to people to tide over the effects of the pandemic that will last a few months and changes made in the APMC Act.
“At least, 0.6 per cent market fee is levied on those operating from APMCs, while there are no charges for those operating outside. Obviously, the business has gone elsewhere,” he reasoned.
M Ramesh, Honorary Joint Secretary, Bangalore Grain Merchants’ Association, and a partner at Sri
Ramanatha Traders and two other outlets at the yard, said merchants are waiting for the Covid crisis to
subside so that they can approach the government on the market fee.
“As mandated by the State Government, we are forced to pay 60 paise as market fee for every Rs 100 worth of produce bought from us. With the amendment, anyone can start business outside the yard and they need not charge any fee on purchasers. All we ask is a level playing field as those operating outside can sell goods cheaper than us,” he said.
Ramesh also appealed to the state government to include APMC traders under the micro, small and medium enterprises category. “With that, we can get many benefits. It will help us run the business smoothly and recover our Covid losses,” he added.