Rajeev Ravidas, TT, Kalimpong, March 30: A forum for farmers has filed a public interest litigation in Calcutta High Court, seeking the reconstitution of the Kalimpong Regulated Market Committee and resumption of operation at the market complex at 11 Mile here.
Bishnu Kumar Chhetri, the secretary of Kalimpong Krishak Kalyan Sangathan that filed the PIL against the agricultural marketing department of the state government on March 24, said local farmers were incurring financial losses in the absence of a regulated market here.
Chhetri said the proposal for the regulated market had been mooted way back in 1975, but the construction of the complex was completed much later in 2005. "However, even after the completion of the complex and its subsequent renovation in 2012, it functioned only for a brief period. In November last year, the government constituted a 10-member market committee with GTA secretary as the chairman, but the panel does not have a single local farmer or trader as member, which is against the provision of the West Bengal Agricultural Produce Marketing (regulation) Act, 1972," he said.
Chhetri has prayed for an interim order reconstituting the market committee with proper representation of local stakeholders and early operation of the complex. "In my PIL, I also challenged the transfer of the market complex to the GTA, which the state government did in November 2012."
"Local crops like cardamom, ginger, orange, vegetables, broom, rice and millets worth close to Rs 1.5 crore are traded annually. If the regulated market starts functioning, the farmers will get almost double the price by avoiding middlemen," he added.