The 350 odd vegetable outlets of Goa State Horticultural Corporation (GSHC) are expected to go dry today as the wholesale vegetable suppliers of Belgaum on Tuesday blocked all supplies to the corporation and were steadfast in their resolve to not supply vegetables till the GSHC changes its policies.
The wholesale vegetable suppliers have for long been protesting against the GSHC‘s policy of procuring vegetables from only four suppliers with one cornering major chunk of the business amounting to nearly 75 per cent of the purchases made by the GSHC.
The vegetable wholesale suppliers argue that the GSHC’s policy not only amounts to nepotism but is also affecting the vegetable farmers from the district as the suppliers are procuring vegetables from other districts and even states to meet the GSHC’s demand.
Besides, the vegetable vendors also pointed out that the policy of favouring only four suppliers could be due to corruption by way of kickbacks.
Given the fact that the wholesale vegetable markets in Belgaum are closed on Monday, there was a flurry of activity on Tuesday and when the trucks of GSHC were loaded, in an unprecedented move, all the other whole dealers blocked the truck and did not allow it to move out of the Cantonment Wholesale Vegetable Market yard.
As a result of this action, around 130 tonnes of vegetables worth around Rs 35 lakhs got spoilt claimed Sankalp Amonkar, Chairman of GSHC.
The wholesale vegetable vendors pointed out that since vegetables are perishable commodities, by roping in more suppliers, the GSHC could stand to benefit by hard bargaining to get the produce at a reduced rate. In fact, they said that since the GSHC makes bulk purchases and its payments are made within a week, it can truly drive a hard bargain to get the best rates which in turn could be passed on to the consumers in Goa.
The agitating wholesale vegetable vendors clarified that they are not against the subsidy offered by the government of Goa to its citizens, but asserted that all the suppliers should get an opportunity to benefit this largesse rather than restricting it to only four suppliers.