The Delhi government will invoke the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA), Education Minister Manish Sisodia said Monday as wholesalers of fruits and vegetables began an indefinite strike here to protest against the government withdrawing their six percent commissions from farmers.
"If the wholesalers try to stop the supply we will take action against them. In sometime we will implment ESMA for which we have taken permission from the Lt. Governor," Sisodia told media.
"Even after that, if they try to disrupt supplies their licenses will be cancelled and action will be taken against them," he added.
ESMA is meant to ensure the delivery of certain services which, if obstructed, would affect the normal life of the people.
The wholesalers earlier used to take six percent tax from the farmers and traders.
"Earlier we used to procure six percent commission from the growers. But now the Delhi government has stopped this and wants us to take the commission from the buyers," Meetha Ram, president of Chamber of Azadpur Fruit and Vegetable Sellers told IANS.
Justifying the policy decision Sisodia added: "This is a big step for the farmers. This policy will be beneficial for them, but the wholesalers are trying to take money from them."
According to the wholesalers, charging the commission from the buyers means adding an extra burden on the purchasers.
"Moreover there is no clarity on the policies of the government. We do not care what the government does we are fighting for our right. Buyers will refuse to pay us so what will we do," Meetha Ram added.
The wholesalers are also questioning on revoking of the policy by the government here when it is already in place in 22 states.
Apart from Azadpur, wholesalers from the Okhla market in south Delhi and several smaller ones are participating in the strike.