Operating in a similar fashion as that of the infamous “Italian” mob, Garo Hills too is witnessing a cartel-run operation wherein the final say in purchase of items and costs rest with the ‘bosses’ of such dark organisations.
Tura police have announced that they have identified a cartel like organisation running the show in the market in which traders have to purchase goods solely from their ‘registered’ sellers at exorbitant rates before reselling to the public at an even higher price.
But this is not something new. This racket has been running for well over 18 years under different groups, reveals some traders who have been victims in the past.
The modus operandi has been simple for the cartel- select a single distributor and push out other competitors by use of muscle power.
As a result, all traders dealing in onions, chillies, spices, potatoes, fruits and even milk and containers are made to purchase their stock solely from the ‘identified’ dealers marked out by the cartel members.
While they are made to purchase the goods above the normal market rate, they are offered protection from any opposition. This in turn encourages traders to jack up their prices which they hand down to the unsuspecting customer who has to pay more.
“We have found that some persons have been indulging in monopolistic activities and extorting money from the suppliers in the name of protection money. They compel the shopkeepers to purchase the stuff from a particular supplier at the prices fixed as per their whims and fancies,” pointed out West Garo Hills SP Vivekanand Singh Rathore.
The cartel has not left it solely to the food and beverages industry to make their illegal gains but has swiftly moved into construction materials such as cement, rod and other items.
“We are collecting more facts and action will be taken in due course. It is informed to one and all that any attempt at monopolizing the markets by creating cartels, hoarding, black marketing etc. shall not be acceptable to the administration and will be dealt with strongly as per law,” warns the district administration.