Pre-regulated market days-malpractices in wholesale Vegetable trade
Ahmedabad City had a Borough Municipality in the year 1944-47 with a population of about 5 lakhs and so far as the wholesale vegetable business is concerned, it was entirely in the hands of General Commission Agents who had their own property of Rajnagar Vegetable Market in the city of Ahmedabad at Dhalgarwad. Thus, the wholesale vegetable trade was completely monopolized in the hands of the 14 trades and nobody else was permitted to do the business of the rule, the General Commission Agents, in Vegetables. In pre-independence time of British rule, the agriculturists growing vegetable used to bring their produce in the Rajnagar Market, where so far as the sale is concerned an under-cover (Hatha) system was prevailing and the grower was left completely at the mercy of the trade who was not bound to disclose the rates of the produce fixed by him to the grower. Even a system of sample taking was also prevalent at that time and the General Commission Agents were taking away some produce on the guise of samples. Even after the sale was effected, all possible malpractices were played in case of weighment, because at that time, weighment was mad by the hand scales and the persons employed in the weighment were the servants of the General Commission Agents. At that time, the Price, Fixed were on Maund, which was equivalent to 40 Sheers, but the grower had to give the produce of 42-45 sheers, which was produce for less amount. All possible fraudulent means were also applied against the interest of the actual grower so far as the weighment was concerned. Even at times the General Commission Agent used to buy for himself and he would sell the same produce ad higher rate thereafter and thus the grower was put to a grat loss. Some of the agricultural produce was also sold in the market without fixing the General Commission Agent. So far as the system of payment to the grower was concerned, it was also defective, because he was used to borrow money from General Commission Agent previously and he had no voice the accounts maintained by trade. As a general practice, the vegetable grower was not paid in cash on the day of sale, but he had to collect moneys afterwards at the sweet-will of the General Commission Agent. So far as the commission is concerned, it was charged at one Anna (now six paise) then prevailing per one rupee from the seller-grower. In case of produce brought from outside areas, at times, the general commission agents used to charge commission both from the vendor and the purchaser and at times, even the price of the produce was fixed arbitrarily to very low extent.
Establishment of Regulated Market in 1948 and efforts there of
Even in the times of the British rule, there was a Bombay Cooperative Socieies Act, 1925 and the Agricultural Produce Markets Act, 1939 prevailing in the State of Bombay of which the Ahmedabad was a District town. After the Formation of the separate State of Gujarat, the Gujarat Co-operative Societies Act, 1961 was enacted and so far as the Agricultural Produce Markets Act is concerned, it was enacted as a Gujarat Agricultural produce Markets Act of 1963. In the years of about 1942-44, because of malpractices of the played in the trade of wholesale vegetable, some of the growers especially in the city and Dascroi Taluka of Ahmedabad district gathered and they formed a cooperative society of the growers on 23/12/1942 which and known as The Ahmedabad Co-operative Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association Ltd. (Khedut Sabha). The said society mainly used to do the business of commission agent in Leafy and perishable vegetable. There was another cooperative society also established which was mainly dealing in the wholesale business of Potatoes and it was known as The Potato Growers Cooperative Association Ltd. (Khedut Sabha) The said society mainly used to do the business of commission agent in Leafy and perishable vegetables. There was another cooperative society also established which was mainly dealing in the wholesale business of potatoes and it was known as The potato Growers Cooperative Association Ltd. The agriculturists then were quite aware about the malpractices played with vegetable growers and therefore in consultation with the leaders of the above two cooperative societies, a representation was made to the city of Ahmedabad, The said move was vehemently oposed by the traders because the same was going to adversely affect their interest. A proposal was submitted in the year 1942 to the Government for issuing a notification for the establishment of the market under Bombay Agricultural Produce Markets Act 1939 and a notification, the wholesale vegetable trade was regulated within a radius of 12 miles from the Ahmedabad Market Yard with effect from 24th May 1948. So far as the said notification is concerned the traders dealing in the wholesale vegerables, who had a monopoly and complete control over the said business made all efforts to scrap the market and they had moved the courts to obtain injection to restrain Ahmedabad Market Committee from the holding of its first general meeting, but they filed in their attempts and the Regulated Market in the city of Ahmedabad was established as per schedule. Even though the notification was published by the Government and the Market was established, a regulated market cannot properly function without convenient accommodation and space and so the committee approached the then Ahmedaad Municipal Borough, which handed over the possession of the Municipal Market at Manek Chowk So Far as the market was concerned, it was in possession of a contractor and the Municipality took over the possession and handed over the same to the Ahmedabad Agricultural Produce Market Committee. So far as the Rajnagar Vegetable Market is concerned, the owners and the 14 General Commission Agents who had complete control over the same, refused to give the possession of their market and hence the Manek Chowk market was declared as the first market yard. All possible efforts made by the traders to see that the committee may not get possession of the Manek Chowk market also failed and the actual commencement of the working of the market yard in the city of Ahmedabad was first made on 12th July, 1948 when the then Hon’ ble Minister Shri V. L. Mehta, Minister for Finance and Co-operation in the Government of Bombay made an opening ceremony of the Manek Chowk Market Yard. The 14 General Commission Agents, who had a complete monopoly over the trade, there after realised their mistake and they approached the committee and the Minister and the Government, and requested to declare the Rajnagar Market as the market yard and they handed over the possession of the Rajnagar Vegetable Market to the Market Committee and a notification for notifying that place also as a market yard was published on 20th July, 1948. As a Result, Rajnagar-Bhagubhai Vanda Market was declared as a Principal market and Manek Chowk market was declared as a sub-market and hence from 20th July, 1948, a regular market was established at that place under the Bombay Agricultural Produce Markets Act, 1939. The Government has also issued a notification regulating 10 kinds of fruits viz Mango, Banana, Watermelon ()Tadbuch), Melon(Teti), Papaiya, Guava (Jamrukh), Beer, Falsa, Sugarcane, Pomegranate, with effect from 12th September, 1950, but the committee had no sufficient space for the regulation of the fruits. By that time India became independent and the Municipal Borough of the Ahmedabad ciry was converted in to Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation and Municipal Corporation come out with a proposal to hand over the possession of the Kalupur Market which was in the hands of he Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation. Ahmedabad market committee also decided to take the possession of the Kalupur market from 13th January m 1959 on rental basis for the fruit and vegetable market, but the traders operating in the market vehemently opposed and they had filed writ application and matters were taken up to the Supreme Court. Even at present also the traders without obtaining any licence from the committee unauthorised occupy the said market. The Ahmedabad Agricultural Produce Market Committee also resolved to de-notify the said market as the operation are not under the control regulation of the Ahmedabad Agricultural Produce Market Committee. If the Kalupur Market is handed over to the Agricultural Produce Market Committee, the APMC can establish a Regulated Market there.
Period after the establishment of the Regulated Market at Ahmedabad
Even after the establishment of the Regulated Market at Rajnagar Bhagubhai Vanda Market, the traders as a class could not tolerate the Regulated Market, because they were not adopting themselves to the new regulated set up. So far as Regulated Market of wholesale vegetable is concerned. It was for the first time in whole of India that such a Regulated Market was established. The old under-cover (Hatha) system which was formerly prevailing, was not completely done away with, but under the Act and Rules. Trade was bound to make Kabala (agreement) in triplicate and he had to hand over one copy to the vegetable grower and one to the market committee. Under the rules and regulations of the new Regulated Market, the weighment was under the Beam Scales and also supervised by the inspectors of the market committee. As per the provisions of the Regulated Market, the trader was also bound to pay in cash to the grower for his produce sold and all possible efforts were by the Market Committee to do away with the malpractices which were prevalent in the old times. Under the new Regulated Market,  Public auction,  correct weighment, and  cash price, were three fundaments to be observed by the traders operating in the market. The new system was also opposed by the traders and in the year 1949-50. The traders also refused to apply for obtaining licences under the Regulated Market and they planned a collective non-corporation with the Market Committee and cooperative societies, the market committee succeeded. When there was a vehement opposition by the traders in the year 1949, the market Committee approached the Government for de-notifying the Rajnagar market and accordingly, the Rajnagar market was de-notified from 01/09/1949, but ultimately as the traders surrendered the said market was also notified as a market yard from 29/12/1949.
Working of the Regulated Market after the formation of the Gujarat State in 1961
The regulated wholesale business was carried out in about 6,000 Sq.Yds. land in Rajnagar Bhagubhai Vanda and because of the increase in population and increase in wholesale vegetable trade, there was a complete congestion and hence the Market Committee was looking forward for some other place. In the year 1967, the Ahmedabad Cooperative Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association Ltd. During its Silver Jubilee occasion, requested the then Co-operation Minister of Gujarat State Shri Thakorbhai Desai to visit the actual market operation and the condition of the growers in the market yard. The State Government was thus apprised of the need of more space and accommodation for market yard. The committee and the cooperative societies made joint efforts for obtaining some other convinient and specious space for the development of market yard. In the market established under the act, instead of 14 original General Commission Agents, there were 46 General Commission Agents and 136 “A” class traders and third cooperative society of growers namely Ahmedabad Vegetable Growers were obtaining competitive rates and prices in return of their produce. In the regulated market, Shopkeepers, Lariwalas, Toplawalas and all “B” class traders in the city were coming to purchase the vegetable. Tolats, Hamals, Recorders and Carting Agents were also given licences by the Market Committee. Even so far ad the leafy Vegetables are concerned actual growers were awarded a special space where in the growers are permitted to sell their vegetable produce straight to the actual consumers. The rate of the vegetable prevalent on a particular day were displayed on the market board and at times, they were announced also on microphone. In short, because of the Regulated Market sample taking was abolished, extra fraudulent payment was also done away with, higher rates of commission were abolished, wrong methods of sale were also completely abolished and monopoly trade of 14 General Com mission Agents was also removed and the vegetable grower was free to take his produce to any Commission Agent he liked, The new market was thus a boon to the vegetable grower, but because of the short space and heavy arrivals, at times the grower was put to a loss and he was victimised and hence the Market Committee was looking forward for obtaining a convenient space for the establishments of the new market. The Market Committee head therefore approached the State Government for handing over the possession of the sufficient suitable space for the establishment and development of the regulated market.