APMC merchants across various districts of North Karnataka observed APMC bandh on Monday in response to a call for a State-wide protest seeking withdrawal of the hike in APMC cess and fulfilment of other demands.
The APMC merchants are up in arms against the State government for its decision to reverse an earlier order on reducing APMC cess/user fee to 0.35 % and increasing it to 1 %.
In response to the bandh call, the APMC merchants downed the shutters of their shops and offices in the APMC yards in various districts, including, Dharwad, Haveri, Gadag, Belagavi, Vijayapura and Bagalkot. They took out protest marches in the APMC yards and submitted memoranda to the APMC secretaries seeking immediate roll-back of the hike.
Taking out a protest march in Dharwad, the APMC merchants of Hubballi and Dharwad staged a demonstration in front of the office of the Deputy Commissioner of Dharwad and demanded immediate roll-back of the hike.
Addressing the protestors, the office-bearers of the associations said that although the State government had reduced the cess/user fee to 0.35 % after an indefinite closure of APMCs in July, it had now suddenly increased it to 1 % putting further burden on the merchants who were already meted out injustice through the new farm laws of the Centre.
They said that the government was acting in contradiction to its own assurance of saving the APMCs. Increasing the cess/ user fee would only force the merchants to stay away from the APMC yards, as outside the APMC they had no cess or fee to be paid.
They submitted memorandum seeking immediate roll-back of the order. The State committee of APMC merchants is scheduled to meet on December 23 to decided the further course of action.