Bragta goes overboard; Himachal apple growers continue to pay commission

The euphoria over Delhi High Court issuing stay order over charging 6% commission from apple farmers in Azadpur fruit market in Delhi is over. The apple merchants in Delhi are still charging commission despite the court’s orders  and have feigned ignorance of any such directions being received by them.

The bone of contention is the arbitrary way of functioning of the Azadpur fruit market in Delhi. This market is the biggest in Asia where 60% of the state’s apple produce is disposed off. Apple farmers are up in arms as there has been a steep rise in cost of production and transportation and earlier there was not much awareness of deduction of commission from the growers. Now armed with the law (Refer to clause 40[3] and 42[4] ) demand to abolish the practice of charging commission from growers has become vocal.

Delhi High Court on a petition filed by Himachal Government passed an interim stay order in June 2010 directing the government to enforce the amended bylaws, making it obligatory for buyers to pay commission.

narender bragtaOnce the news of the interim stay order reached Himchal, what followed, as I termed above was – Euphoria. Mr. Bragta was quick to rise to the occasion and like a ‘true leader’ termed the decision ‘historic’ and now wanted to recover the huge commission amounts from the Delhi fruit merchants that were collected over a ten year period (from 1999 when the APMC laws were amended.)

Congratulations came from all quarters to Mr. Bragta. BJP workers resorted to chest thumping. The workers and leader started acknowledging the government’s achievement in stopping the apple commission.

An impression was created within the state by Mr. Bragta and the BJP that charging of commission has been finally stopped. But the reality was altogether different and a lot bitter!!

The practise of charging commission is going on as per usual. Attached here is a sale received from Azadpur market dated July 2, 2010 where 6% commission has been charged.

sale copy from azadpur mandi

It is to be noted that the Court has only given an ‘interim stay order’ pending final decision on the appeal. Meanwhile, the impression created in the state by Mr. Bragta and BJP leaders was as if the Court has ruled in it’s favour. An average farmer is confused by the blatant statements being dished out by the leaders on this issue. While BJP leaders are openly acknowledging their ‘victory’ the sale received from Delhi market speaks a totally different story.

When enquired with the fruit merchant at Delhi about the High Court stay order he said there was no such thing communicated to them. The grower then told him the Horticulture Minister Mr. Bragta has been saying daily the commission has been stopped, the merchant asked the grower, ‘Aap Bragta ji se hi pucho.’ Delhi fruit merchants are directly challenging the Court’s order by not heeding to the stay order and charging commissions arbitrarily.

The entire scenario is tragic as well as comic leading to overall confusion. Farmers have no clue what is actually happening and whom to believe. It was comic indeed to see the BJP leaders acknowledge to something which never materialised. Sensing the trouble Mr. Bragta has now appealed to the farmers not to send their produce to Delhi and instead sell it within the state.

While it is indeed commendable of the state government to pursue this matter in courts and getting a stay order. What made Mr. Bragta and the BJP laughing stock was going overboard and politicising  the whole issue before the final judgement was delivered. If and when the court decides in favour of Himachal, no one will ever doubt their contribution. In my previous article, Himachal moves court on apple commission issue, I had lauded Mr. Bragta for taking up the Horticulture ministry again as it is a bed of thorns.

Himachal government should initiate contempt of court proceedings against the Delhi government and Azadpur Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee to enforce the court orders.

Meanwhile, Mr. Bragta needs to focus and to keep working with his feet on ground and not get carried away.

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16 Responses to "Bragta goes overboard; Himachal apple growers continue to pay commission"

  1. Apple Grower   July 11, 2010 at 9:36 pm

    My dear blogger, this has been the most biased article I have ever read for a long long time. Instead of lauding the efforts of the present state government, you are ridiculing them. The Interim stay was only passed by the Hon'ble High Court because Himachal's case has been very strong. Had you been a true Himachali, you would have not ridiculed our govt for winning the rights of our apple growers against the dirty Delhi cartel. You yourself have mentioned that "stay order in June 2010 directing the government to enforce the amended bylaws". This directive was for the Delhi Govt to implement and not for Mr Bragta to go to Azadpur and become a watchman. At this moment we need to come together and fight as one as Mr Bragta is waging a lonely battle. Instead of writing this article you could have moved the court for contempt as you had the bill in your custody. We surely do not expect Mr Bragta to be a superman and do everything for us. Next we would want him to pluck our apples and pack them too!

    Reply
    • NITYIN   July 12, 2010 at 7:06 am

      Dear Apple Grower

      I knew this was coming, so have mentioned the links in my article. Please go through them again. My point here is on one hand Mr. Bragta and BJP is making so much noise over the commission being stopped where as the reality is different. Now try telling this to farmers in the villages who are reading a different story all together in the newspapers.

      If by 'lonely battle' you mean to say Mr. Bragta is doing a great favor only to the farmers, then I would like to disagree here. He is a politician and his future political career and the fortunes of BJP in Shimla district is dependent on this issue alone. Mr. Bragta and his party fought the election on the same issue. He has to take responsibility of a watchman and cannot shy away from this.

      As you said – This directive was for the Delhi Govt to implement and not for Mr Bragta – He seemed in too much hurry to start the celebrations. Wasn't he?

      Someone could have told him what an interim stay order means!!

      Reply
    • NITYIN   July 12, 2010 at 7:06 am

      Dear Apple Grower

      I knew this was coming, so have mentioned the links in my article. Please go through them again. My point here is on one hand Mr. Bragta and BJP is making so much noise over the commission being stopped where as the reality is different. Now try telling this to farmers in the villages who are reading a different story all together in the newspapers.

      If by 'lonely battle' you mean to say Mr. Bragta is doing a great favor only to the farmers, then I would like to disagree here. He is a politician and his future political career and the fortunes of BJP in Shimla district is dependent on this issue alone. Mr. Bragta and his party fought the election on the same issue. He has to take responsibility of a watchman and cannot shy away from this.

      As you said – This directive was for the Delhi Govt to implement and not for Mr Bragta – He seemed in too much hurry to start the celebrations. Wasn't he?

      Someone could have told him what an interim stay order means!!

      Reply
  2. Apple Grower   July 11, 2010 at 9:36 pm

    My dear blogger, this has been the most biased article I have ever read for a long long time. Instead of lauding the efforts of the present state government, you are ridiculing them. The Interim stay was only passed by the Hon'ble High Court because Himachal's case has been very strong. Had you been a true Himachali, you would have not ridiculed our govt for winning the rights of our apple growers against the dirty Delhi cartel. You yourself have mentioned that "stay order in June 2010 directing the government to enforce the amended bylaws". This directive was for the Delhi Govt to implement and not for Mr Bragta to go to Azadpur and become a watchman. At this moment we need to come together and fight as one as Mr Bragta is waging a lonely battle. Instead of writing this article you could have moved the court for contempt as you had the bill in your custody. We surely do not expect Mr Bragta to be a superman and do everything for us. Next we would want him to pluck our apples and pack them too!

    Reply
  3. Apple Grower   July 11, 2010 at 9:36 pm

    My dear blogger, this has been the most biased article I have ever read for a long long time. Instead of lauding the efforts of the present state government, you are ridiculing them. The Interim stay was only passed by the Hon'ble High Court because Himachal's case has been very strong. Had you been a true Himachali, you would have not ridiculed our govt for winning the rights of our apple growers against the dirty Delhi cartel. You yourself have mentioned that "stay order in June 2010 directing the government to enforce the amended bylaws". This directive was for the Delhi Govt to implement and not for Mr Bragta to go to Azadpur and become a watchman. At this moment we need to come together and fight as one as Mr Bragta is waging a lonely battle. Instead of writing this article you could have moved the court for contempt as you had the bill in your custody. We surely do not expect Mr Bragta to be a superman and do everything for us. Next we would want him to pluck our apples and pack them too!

    Reply
    • NITYIN   July 12, 2010 at 12:36 pm

      Dear Apple Grower

      I knew this was coming, so have mentioned the links in my article. Please go through them again. My point here is on one hand Mr. Bragta and BJP is making so much noise over the commission being stopped where as the reality is different. Now try telling this to farmers in the villages who are reading a different story all together in the newspapers.

      If by 'lonely battle' you mean to say Mr. Bragta is doing a great favor only to the farmers, then I would like to disagree here. He is a politician and his future political career and the fortunes of BJP in Shimla district is dependent on this issue alone. Mr. Bragta and his party fought the election on the same issue. He has to take responsibility of a watchman and cannot shy away from this.

      As you said – This directive was for the Delhi Govt to implement and not for Mr Bragta – He seemed in too much hurry to start the celebrations. Wasn't he?

      Someone could have told him what an interim stay order means!!

      Reply
  4. KAMAL   July 12, 2010 at 7:28 pm

    I am not sure if I understand everything here (especially the legal angle) but what Nityin wrote in his post and comment seems to makes a lot of sense.

    Reply
  5. KAMAL   July 12, 2010 at 7:28 pm

    I am not sure if I understand everything here (especially the legal angle) but what Nityin wrote in his post and comment seems to makes a lot of sense.

    Reply
  6. KAMAL   July 12, 2010 at 7:28 pm

    I am not sure if I understand everything here (especially the legal angle) but what Nityin wrote in his post and comment seems to makes a lot of sense.

    Reply
  7. Amar Singh   July 25, 2010 at 12:26 am

    Out of two cabinet ministers in the Center, Vir Bhadra Singh himself is a big orchardist and equally effected by 8% commission charged by the Delhi traders. Even he appears to be sitting silent on this issue, though he can be quite effective to impress upon Delhi govt regarding implementation of the High Court order. Politics indeed!!

    Reply
  8. Amar Singh   July 25, 2010 at 12:26 am

    Out of two cabinet ministers in the Center, Vir Bhadra Singh himself is a big orchardist and equally effected by 8% commission charged by the Delhi traders. Even he appears to be sitting silent on this issue, though he can be quite effective to impress upon Delhi govt regarding implementation of the High Court order. Politics indeed!!

    Reply
  9. Amar Singh   July 25, 2010 at 12:26 am

    Out of two cabinet ministers in the Center, Vir Bhadra Singh himself is a big orchardist and equally effected by 8% commission charged by the Delhi traders. Even he appears to be sitting silent on this issue, though he can be quite effective to impress upon Delhi govt regarding implementation of the High Court order. Politics indeed!!

    Reply
  10. Bonjour   July 28, 2010 at 7:00 am

    In wake of the commission issue, i have learned and seen growers returning from Delhi with a plain paper slip with 6-8% commission deductions, instead of the printed details on a letter head. The commission agents are playing smart as these slips have no legal value.

    As the prices are dwindling day by day in very begining of the apple season, one should wonder, is it the market forces or the nexus of Commission agents and thier pawns working on it?

    I think, 2010 apple season will follow the 2008 pattern for growers, who suffered great losses where as Agents made millions at the same time. In 2009, in wake of less production Agents bought apples from growers at exhorbitant rate but failed to gain much in reselling and few agents even lost 1-2 lakh on each cartel sent to Chennai, as the market didnt boom in Dec-April period. Now in 2010, Agents are out for a killing of the grower of HP. Perhaps, part Commission issue and the so called market forces along with over production are to be blamed for same.

    Reply
  11. Bonjour   July 28, 2010 at 7:00 am

    In wake of the commission issue, i have learned and seen growers returning from Delhi with a plain paper slip with 6-8% commission deductions, instead of the printed details on a letter head. The commission agents are playing smart as these slips have no legal value.

    As the prices are dwindling day by day in very begining of the apple season, one should wonder, is it the market forces or the nexus of Commission agents and thier pawns working on it?

    I think, 2010 apple season will follow the 2008 pattern for growers, who suffered great losses where as Agents made millions at the same time. In 2009, in wake of less production Agents bought apples from growers at exhorbitant rate but failed to gain much in reselling and few agents even lost 1-2 lakh on each cartel sent to Chennai, as the market didnt boom in Dec-April period. Now in 2010, Agents are out for a killing of the grower of HP. Perhaps, part Commission issue and the so called market forces along with over production are to be blamed for same.

    Reply
  12. Tenzin   August 1, 2010 at 2:24 pm

    The biggest issue in this whole debate is lack of transparency. Traders in Delhi or Solan or Mumbai for that matter are in there for a living. To assume, they will provide free service is expecting a miracle in this sense.
    If you legally force them out of not charging comission from orchardists, and if the ladaani(the buying party) also refuse to pay for comission agents service as has been the norm till now. What will ensue is a free for all. Commission agents will under report the sale and charge the commission from there. This system is more unfair for orchardists.
    What would have been best system, would be an arrangement where both buyers and sellers share the commission fees. The ideal system would be a complete transparent system with the true prices being reflected in sale bill.
    But that is just a dream as of now.

    Reply
  13. Tenzin   August 1, 2010 at 2:24 pm

    The biggest issue in this whole debate is lack of transparency. Traders in Delhi or Solan or Mumbai for that matter are in there for a living. To assume, they will provide free service is expecting a miracle in this sense.
    If you legally force them out of not charging comission from orchardists, and if the ladaani(the buying party) also refuse to pay for comission agents service as has been the norm till now. What will ensue is a free for all. Commission agents will under report the sale and charge the commission from there. This system is more unfair for orchardists.
    What would have been best system, would be an arrangement where both buyers and sellers share the commission fees. The ideal system would be a complete transparent system with the true prices being reflected in sale bill.
    But that is just a dream as of now.

    Reply

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