Procuring vegetables on Thursday is going to be difficult as traders of the Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) have announced that they will support the one-day all-India bandh called on December 1 to protest the central government's decision to allow foreign direct investment (FDI) in the retail sector.
At a press conference under the aegis of Federation of Association of Maharashtra (FAM), held in Vashi on Wednesday, constituents of the market that supplies essential food items to Mumbai and its suburbs said that entry of multinational companies (MNCs) will result in domestic retailers and wholesalers going out of business, and labourers (knows as mathadis) losing their jobs. They claimed that consumers will also lose out ultimately, as the MNCs, once they have captured the market, will raise prices at will.
FAM president Mohan Gurnani said: "After the bandh, we will go on a hunger strike at Shivaji Chowk on December 3. Traders from all over the country, including Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Kerala and other states, are strongly opposing retail FDI. This is a question of our existence and hence there are no divisions."
Welcoming NCP leader Sharad Pawar's stand, Gurnani said: "While he initially supported the policy, his latest statement is that the government should take into account the majority mood. He, too, now understands the opposition to the policy."
Mathadi Narendra Patil said: "The mathadis have decided to support the bandh. For the first time, even the vegetable market will be shut. We have asked farmers not to send supplies to the market."