Farmers’ stir: Supply of vegetables stays between normal and low
The ongoing farmers' stir in Madhya Pradesh saw a mixed response with some traders claiming the supply of vegetables at the agriculture markets had weakened while others termed it normal.
A senior police official said the situation in the state today was largely peaceful.
Several farmers' organisations have been agitating since June 1 as part of the 10-day "Gaon Bandh" (village shutdown) stir demanding remunerative prices for produce and waiver of farm loans.
In Mandsaur, where six people were killed in police firing on June 6 last year, only 200 farmers reached the local Mandi to sell their produce today, said an official.
"On normal days, over 4,000 farmers arrive at the Mandi. Today only 200 farmers came in with their produce," said Mandsaur Krishi Upaj Mandi inspector Balwant Singh Rathore.
Traders, however, claimed there was no shortage of fresh farm produce at the Mandsaur Mandi.
Bhagwandas Meghnani, president of Mandsaur's Wholesale Traders Union, said, "There is no shortage, as of now, because people had stored sufficient amount of vegetables ahead of the agitation. However, farmers from some areas are not arriving at the market."
Another trader, Jitu Meghnani, said the arrival of vegetables was adequate to meet the current requirement.
In Indore the price of vegetables were rising.
President of the traders' union in Indore's Ahilyabai Holkar Vegetable Market, Sundardas Makhija, told PTI, "When compared to normal days, the arrival in the Mandi has reduced to half. There is an average increase of 20 per cent in prices of tomatoes, lady finger, green chillies, bitter gourds and other vegetables."
He said the local wholesale vegetable market was largely dependent on neighbouring states like Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Maharashtra.
Makhija claimed the prices of vegetables had registered a decline during the first three days of the farmers' agitation because retailers as well as buyers had stored vegetables ahead of the agitation.
"Since the stock of vegetables in people's homes and traders' warehouses has reduced now, it is expected that the business in the wholesale market would speed up soon," he said.
Bhopal's Krishi Upaj Mandi secretary Vinay Prakash Pateria claimed the arrival of grains, fruits and vegetables was normal today, adding that no increase in prices was noticed.
Mohammed Abid, a wholesale trader in Bhopal's Nav Bahar Sabji Mandi, claimed the prices had, infact, come down due to arrival of fresh farm produce.
The reports from markets in Neemuch, Jhabua and Ratlam also indicated normal arrival of vegetables.
Inspector-General of Police (Intelligence) Makrand Deuskar told reporters here that the state remained by and large peaceful on day four of the stir.
In Athner town in Betul district, agitating farmers threw vegetables and poured milk on the streets, said Siddharth Priyadarshan, inspector in charge, Athner police station.
Six people were detained and later let off, he said.
Meanwhile, the Rashtriya Kisan Mazdoor Mahasangh (RKMM), a federation of about 130 agitating farmers' organisations, staged a protest in Vidisha alleging harassment by the administration.
The Mahasangh's spokesman Rahul Raj claimed the police had detained RKMM office-bearers in several places including Rajgarh and Singrauli.
Police said the security had been beefed up at Pipliya Mandi of Mandsaur district ahead of Congress chief Rahul Gandhi's public meeting there on June 6, the first anniversary of the killing of six farmers in police firing.
Inspector General of Police (Ujjain Range) Rakesh Gupta inspected the venue of Gandhi's public meeting. State Congress chief Kamal Nath, however, alleged the administration was trying to ensure that Gandhi's rally turns out to be a flop.