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Civil Supplies raids: Navi Mumbai grain traders to stop operations

| Updated on: Nov 24, 2012

From Monday, Navi Mumbai’s wholesale grain traders have decided to suspend trading indefinitely. The 900 traders are protesting against a series of raids, which have been carried out by the officers of the State Food and Civil Supplies Department.

In solidarity with the traders, the operators of warehouses and cold storages in Navi Mumbai have also decided to observe a one-day token strike on Monday. The traders operating out of the Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) yard at Navi Mumbai supply grains to about 95 per cent of the retailers of the Mumbai metropolitan region. If the strike continues for a fortnight, then prices of grains and other essential food products could increase in the region.

Popatlal Bhandari, Secretary of the Grain, Rice & Oilseeds Merchants’ Association told Business Line that there has been a series of raids on traders and their warehouses since July. Grain stocks worth over Rs 4 crore have been seized and cases have been registered against 29 traders, he said.

“We work within the ambit of the law, we have all the licenses and our stock books are maintained regularly. But still, the officers accuse us of indulging in black marketing and hoarding. We don’t have any mala fide intentions. Our technical mistakes are being converted into criminal cases,” Bhandari said.

Explaining further, Bhandari said traders sometimes do not have enough space in own godowns at the APMC yard. Therefore, they hire warehouses for storing additional grain. The traders may fail to notify this additional inventory to the department. “It is an oversight, which is being treated as a grave crime by the department,” Bhandari alleged.

>rahul.wadke@thehindu.co.in

Published on November 24, 2012

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