Maharashtra traders resume grain buying after govt assurance on MSP rule

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Traders resumed foodgrain auctions at the strike-hit Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) wholesale markets (mandis) in Maharashtra after the state government assured them it would not take action if the purchase price went below the Minimum Support Price (MSP).

They had boycotted produce auctions for a week, after the state government indicated it would penalise buying below the MSP with fines and imprisonment. The government later denied taking such a decision.

Truckloads of foodgrain piled up in the APMC mandis of Ahmednagar, Baramati, and Latur, among others, awaiting auction participants.

"Part of auctions started today (on Thursday), after the state government assured traders of not taking any action if foodgrain prices fell below the MSP, based on market forces. Full-fledged auctions are set to resume on Friday," said Dnyandeo Nivruti Kadam, chairman of the APMC at Baramati.

Grain traders across mandis had urged the chairman of the respective APMCs to publish clarifications on the penalty provisions in local media and to also display these at market yards.

"Prices are determined by market forces, depending upon supply and demand. Traders cannot be forced to buy any commodity at a price determined by the government," said Kadam.

Trader bodies have also asked for written assurances from the government. 

"There was a rumour in the market that the government would take action on this issue. While traders have resumed auctions, we expect the government to come out with clarifications," said Vilasrao Shinde, chairman of the APMC at Ahmednagar.

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