Fruit and vegetable traders begin indefinite strike in Delhi

New Delhi, Feb.3: Fruit and vegetable supplies are likely to be hit in New Delhi and its adjoining areas, as traders and wholesalers in the wholesale market of Azadpur began their indefinite strike on Monday, demanding a revoke of Delhi High Court’s order which stated a change in pattern in commission collection.

The commission collectors who act as middlemen between the farmers and the wholesale buyers as well as retailers charge a six percent commission from the farmers.

The Delhi High court in its order announced that the commission will now be charged from the wholesale buyers and retailers, thereby, providing farmers with relief who often suffer at the hands of the middlemen.

Azadpur is Asia’s largest wholesale market for fruits and vegetables.

An elected member of the Azadpur Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee (APMC), Mahender Sanpal put forth the conditions demanded by the traders.

“We demand that the practice of collecting commission from farmers (sellers) shall continue to exist just like it has been from the independence till date. But the government is telling us to take the commission from the buyers (wholesalers and retailers). The buyers will not give us the commission; we will not take the commission from the buyer. This will affect the livelihood of the families of five lakh (500,000) people who are associated with this business. What will we eat? Where will we go?” said Sanpal.

Traders also slammed Delhi’s new government led by Arvind Kejriwal of Aam Aadmi (Common Man) Party.

The strike will not just affect the supply of vegetables and fruits, it will increase the prices of the goods as well.

On Monday, it was a complete shutdown as hundreds of traders went on strike in others vegetable markets as well. The traders have threatened to continue the strike until the court order is revoked.

However, Delhi Labour Minister Girish Soni called the strike a political stunt.

“See, this is a political stunt. I don’t think it otherwise as the people in the vegetable market are good. I have talked to a few traders; there are some political people who are trying to add fuel to this strike. Our government has nothing to do with this, such traditions have been prevailing due to previous governments. We have not created them,” said Soni.

He also added that they are following the court’s orders and their government is not enforcing anything upon anyone.

The agents working as middlemen between the sellers and buyers say if the commission is charged from the wholesalers, the retail price of fruits and vegetables will increase. However, farmers allege that the middlemen are cheating them in the name of commission. (ANI)