Madhya Pradesh: Now traders up in arms, protest CM Chouhan’s MSP directive
Madhya Pradesh government’s decision to treat buying of agricultural produce below the minimum support price (MSP) from farmers as crime has opened another Pandora’s box with traders now up in arms against the announcement.
In protest against the government’s move, traders refused to buy produce from farmers at mandis in several districts such as Sehore, Shajapur, Shivpuri, Narsinghpur, deepening the agricultural crisis.
Chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Sunday announced the MSP directive while ending his “indefinite fast” for peace as there was no fresh incident of violence in the state.
The MSP directive, however, peeved the traders. They argue the price of a particular produce is decided based on its quality.
A traders’ body Sakal Anaaj Dalhan Tilhan Vyapari Sangh said the traders would refrain from buying produce until the government rollback its MSP directive.
“It will be difficult for the traders to do business if their self-respect is hurt,” said its president Gopal Das Aggarwal.
Facing traders’ ire, the State Agriculture Marketing Board clarified that the MSP would be enforced only on agricultural commodities having fair average quality (FAQ).
Chouhan’s BJP government is battling its worst crisis since assuming power in 2005 with farmers’ agitation demanding better prices for their crops that took root in the Malwa region on June 1, spread to other parts of the state in the days that followed.
Six farmers were killed in the course of the agitation. While five died in police firing on Tuesday last, the sixth succumbed on Friday to injuries suffered during a baton charge in Mandsaur.
To quell the crisis, the chief minister announced a slew of welfare measures, including making non-adherence of MSP as criminal offence, for the state’s farming community.
(With inputs from Anupam Pateriya in Sagar)