The FCI Punjab office requests Punjab farmers’ land records to make direct Minimum Support Price (MSP) payments in farmers’ accounts. Arhtiyas claim the government is targeting them for lending support to farmers.
FCI Punjab Office Soughts Land Records Of Punjab Farmers
A letter dated the 4th of March issued by the FCI Punjab office directed the director of food, civil supplies, and consumer affairs to sought Punjab farmers’ land records. Further, it asked them to update data of land records on Annaj Khardi Portal before Rabi Marketing Season 2021-22 to avoid complications.
Punjab Arhtiyas to Go On Strike
Criticizing the government’s move, the Punjab Arhtiya Association announced that they would go on a strike. Ravinder Cheema, President of Punjab Arhtiya Association, explained that the Centre’s APMC Act allows farmers to choose the payment method. Further, he added that agriculture is a state subject, and hence the state should decide on the same. Thus, Arhtiya will stage dharna against the state government in Chandigarh if it does not clarify its stance over the issue.
The Arhtiya Association of Punjab has already filed a petition in court against this.
Mandi System and Role Of Ahrtiyas In Punjab
At present, Ahrtiyas receive payment from the Centre for the crop procured. The Centre pays 2.5% of the total procurement as a commission for procuring crops. Subject experts claim that the government must be self-dependent before making such moves. Besides, it is the Arhtiyas who facilitate the procurement of grains. They clean it, bag it, load it in trucks and deal with the government and banks. Moreover, they help farmers in buying inputs.
In all, Ahrtiyas are extending full support to the farmers’ protest. They are not middlemen but facilitators who facilitate transaction between the procuring agency (FCI)and farmer. Ahrtiyas assert that there is a scope for amendments in the prevailing system. However, the government is trying to completely do away with the existing system, which is unacceptable.