SHILLONG: Meghalaya Minister in-charge of Agriculture Banteidor Lyngdoh on Monday vouched to act tough against the unscrupulous middlemen that exploit the farmers in Iewduh which is the biggest market in Shillong city.
Taking cognizance of the farmer’s complaint against the ‘known’ manipulative moves of the middlemen that are used to fleece the farmers, the Minister told media persons that it is time to act against these elements.
“If needed be, I will personally go to the main market along with the officials and ensure their arrest,” stated Lyngdoh. The Minister has already asked the Deputy Commissioner of East Khasi Hills District, the Chief Executive Member (CEM) of the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC) and the Syiem of Mylliem (traditional custodian of the market) to act against the perpetrators.
A farmer transporting a sack of vegetables is taxed right at the source. It’s the traditional institution (Hima Mylliem) that fixes all sorts of rates. Then the middleman fixes the market price.
The Minister added, “This cannot go on. At one period of time, we intervened as members of the district council.”
The farmers are facing a grave situation also due to the absence of a cold storage for their perishable items. The Minister said that the location could be a problem. “Both are located at a place that could be termed as non-viable points,” Lyngdoh stated.