" So long the government had no control over 92 percent of the state's agricultural produce market which was privately held."
Kolkata, Dec 8 - The West Bengal Agricultural Produce Marketing (Regulation)(Amendment) Bill, 2014 was Monday passed in the state assembly, encouraging growth of privately held local marketplaces to enable farmers to sell their products directly at competitive prices.

The bill was passed by the Select Committee Thursday and aims to open up newer avenues for local farmers.

Aiming to promote the agro industry through a public-private partnership model to set up local Krishak Bazars or cold storage facilities across 46 regulated market committees, the legislation will regulate the market and earn revenue from it.

The bill was ratified by the house even as the opposition alleged it was done in haste.

Replying to the debate on the issue, Agriculture Marketing Minister Arup Roy said the legislation would protect the farmers' interests and ensure they get the right price for their produce.

Roy pooh-poohed the opposition's contention that the Bill would lead to backdoor entry of foreign and private.

The bill, he said, did not have any provision for entry of private and foreign capital and the allegations by the opposition was a mere ploy to misguide the house.

He said the legislation, when enacted, would establish government control on private firms as they would have to come to the government seeking licence to operate.

So long the government had no control over 92 percent of the state's agricultural produce market which was privately held.

The bill broadens the scope of import and export of agricultural produce and speaks of setting up a private market yard and issuing trade licenses through market communities. For traders having a run-up bill exceeding Rs.75 crore in one year buying rice and paddy, the state will re-decide the fees.


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