| Assam agriculture minister Nilamoni Sen Deka (extreme right) speaks to KMSS president Akhil Gogoi at the meeting on Tuesday. Picture by UB Photos |
Guwahati, Nov. 26: The Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) today submitted an “action plan” to Assam government, aimed at monitoring supply and prices of vegetables.
A team of the farmers organisation today met state agriculture minister Nilamoni Sen Deka and submitted an 11-point charter seeking land for opening at least 20 shops in Guwahati and at least five in each of the 27 district headquarters for starting fair price farmers’ markets.
The KMSS team, led by its president Akhil Gogoi, told the minister that they were willing to start fair price markets, which would control 25 per cent of supplies and sell food items at less than the market prices.
The team also sought a Rs 1 crore interest-free loan and vehicles at 50 per cent subsidy for transportation of goods from farms to markets.
“Reducing the role of unholy middlemen is the only way to control food prices. There should be a mandi for open auction of vegetables. If the government supports us, we will start the fare price markets,” the KMSS said.
The KMSS had recently put up stalls in Guwahati and had sold onions, potatoes and other vegetables at lesser prices. They sold onion at Rs 55 per kg when the market price was Rs 70 per kg. Retail prices of potatoes and onions had touched Rs 40 and Rs 90 respectively in Guwahati in the first week of this month. At present, potatoes are being sold at Rs 24 per kg and onions at Rs 40 per kg.
The KMSS also demanded that special “vendor trains” be run between Guwahati and the district headquarters to help farmers sell their produce directly in the markets here. It sought steps to remove syndicates, money collection by police and the agricultural department.
“There should be 50 per cent subsidy on transport of agriculture produce. The government should also fix a minimum support price for agriculture produce. The department should constantly monitor prices and fix maximum retails prices of food items accordingly,” Akhil said.