Karnataka government withdraws APMC amendment bill

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BANGALORE: After forcing the government to refer the Panchayat Raj Amendment Bill to a joint committee of the legislature, the BJP made the Siddaramaiah government withdraw the Karnataka Agriculture Produce Marketing (Regulation and Development) (Second Amendment) Bill, 2013 in the legislative council.

In the 75-member Upper House, BJP is in a stronger position with 39 members as against Congress, with a mere 17 members and JD(S), only 12.

Amid a walkout by the JD(S) and BJP, the legislative assembly passed the controversial bill and sent it to the council for approval. Here, BJP members did not allow horticulture minister Shamanur Shivashankarappa to explain its contents.

The bill provides exemption from payment of market fee on fruits and vegetables. Opposition members maintained that the move would only benefit traders and not farmers. Some also pressed for a joint committee of the House to study the issues.

Piloting the bill, Shivashankarappa said the legislation was necessary to carry out reforms in agriculture marketing sector. “We anticipate a revenue loss of about Rs 7 crore once the bill is introduced but it will greatly help farmers,” he added.

But BJP members felt it would help middlemen rule APMC. Sensing that combined opposition would defeat it, the government decided to withdraw the bill.

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