Demanding better infrastructure, traders of Pune’s wholesale market threaten to go on indefinite strike

Aggrieved over the lack of proper infrastructure, trader in the jaggery and grains section of Pune’s wholesale market have threatened to go on indefinite strike if their demands are not met. In a letter to the administrator of Pune’s wholesale market, the traders said they would be forced to go on indefinite strike from March 31.

The traders are also going on a day-long strike on Friday to press for changes in the GST Act.

In particular, the letter pointed to the sorry condition of the internal roads in the market, many of which are now riddled with potholes. While the market committee has constructed toilet blocks, they remain locked and can’t be used. Similarly, drinking water fountains are also non-functional.

“A CCTV system has been installed but it’s not functional, raising serious questions about security,” the letter stated.

The traders pointed out that the jaggery and grains market of Pune’s wholesale market annually pays cess to the tune of Rs 18 crore, yet does not have access to proper infrastructure. “We had a meeting with the administrator, and we were assured that our concerns would be looked into. But if they are not addressed by March 31, we will be forced to go on an indefinite strike,” he said.

Popatlal Ostwal, the president of Pune Merchants Chamber, said traders have been raising the issue of inadequate infrastructure in the markets over the last few years but their pleas have fallen on deaf ears.

Meanwhile, traders of Pune mandi have decided to join the one-day strike called by various federation of traders on February 26 to demand for changes in GST. They want the GST regime to exempt oilseeds, grain and other essential commodities.

“There have been more than 999 amendments in the GST regime. Uploading returns is a tedious job… the multiple slabs are confusing. The whole process needs to be simplified,” added the letter.