The government of India’s capital, Delhi, are set to invoke the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) in response to an indefinite strike by fruit and vegetable wholesalers, the India Today reports.

The strike is in protest against the government decision to withdraw a six per cent commission from growers, which had previously gone to the wholesalers.

The public media announcement of the Delhi government’s intentions was made yesterday (3 February) by education minister Manish Sisodia.

'If the wholesalers try to stop the supply we will take action against them,” said Sisodia. “In some time we will implement ESMA for which we have taken permission from the Lieutenant Governor.”

Sisodia maintained that the policy will benefit growers, and warned that people who attempted to disrupt supplies would have their licences cancelled and face legal action.

Some business operators have warned that they will continue to fight against the government, while others are simply keen to have the dispute resolved due to money losses.

“The strike really has impacted on sales,” Tarun Arora of major fresh fruit importer and distributor, IG International, told Asiafruit. “Each day of sales is important for us in Delhi.”

Wholesalers in Azadpur, the Okhla market in south Delhi and several smaller ones are participating in the strike.

“I think it will last a couple of days,” said Arora.