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Karnataka Government's New Changes in APMC Triggers Protests across the State

Garsha Sai Nitesh
Garsha Sai Nitesh

Ignoring the concerns of state farmer organizations and opposition party Karnataka government amended the Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) to allow private players to step up yards and purchase directly from farmers. Farmer organizations across the state staging protests against this new ordinance. 

Karnataka Cabinet under Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa gave a nod to the ordinance amending the state APMC act. This decision came after BJP led central government directions to the Karnataka government to adopt the Centre’s Agricultural Produce and Livestock Marketing (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2017. 

“This movie is purely in the interest of farmers to eliminate middlemen. There are no restrictions form now on farmers selling thor produce at APMC yards or to private yard. Farmers produce can be even purchased at his doorsteps. A direct link between traders and farmers can be established now without middlemen,” said Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister JC Madhuswamy after a cabinet meeting. 

Changes in the ACT 

1. Farmers are freed to sell their produce at APMC yards or private yards.

2. Companies can open new market yards, purchase produce at farmers' doorsteps.

3. They need to be licensed by the state committee and only use the electronic weighing machine.

Siddaramaiah Former Leader of Opposition in Karnataka Legislative Assembly and Chief Minister questioned this move saying how such a serious move that affected the lives of farmers across the state can be passed without any discussion in the Assembly but just though an ordinance. H.D Deve Gowda of the Janata Dal (Secular) also criticized the amendment and warned that it can lead to exploitation of farmers produce. 

Over 50 per cent of the state population is associated with agriculture and allied activities. At present, there are over 200 APMC market yards which include submarkets across talukasand, and more than a lakh hamali workers are associated with these markets in the state. 

Past one-week farmers organizations, hamali workers, and opposition parties have been staging various protests against the new ordinance passed by the state government. Opposition parties are arguing that these changes will impact the farmers’ rights and also alleging that new changes will disrupt the existing agriculture marketing system in the state by affecting the traders and workers associated with the APMC. 

Activists of Raitha Sangha staged protests in front of the district offices complex. Addressing the protest Bhaktarahalli, Byregowda Raitha Sangha state general secretary said that the Karnataka government had relaxed the restrictions on the sale and purchase of farm products to facilitate private multinational companies, he further described the amendment as a death knell for farmers. 

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