Commission agents and farmers protest over troubled paddy procurement—slow procurement and delay in payments causing distress to farmers in India.
Several commission agents protested against the non-lifting of paddy from the Fazilka grain market. They blocked the Fazilka-Ferozepur highway on 19th October which left hundreds of vehicles stranded on the road. Likewise, farmers in Ranipet town in Tamil Nadu are worried as their produce is lying in the open. They alleged a senior politician for the delay in procurement. Also, Former Congress MLA Dr Rinwa in Fazilka said that ruling party leaders are diverting contracts to their supporters.
FCI Confirms Paddy Procurement Up by 26%
FCI has confirmed that paddy procurement has increased by 26% this Kharif marketing season. State procurement agencies and FCI have together procured around 170.53 lakh tonne for Rs 32,196 crore till 27th October. Further, it stated that procurement operations are going smoothly in Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand, Chandigarh, Jammu & Kashmir, Kerala, and Gujarat. Besides, seed cotton (kapas) is also being procured from Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, and Madhya Pradesh.
Many commission agents protested at Taraori grain market in Haryana’s Karnal district on 28th October. They complained that payment for Rs 200 crore is due. Also, the government has not fulfilled its promise of clearing it in 72 hours. Moreover, payments of some of them have been deposited to accounts for farmers and arhtiyas due to some technical glitches. However, deputy CM Dushyant Chautala clarified that though there were some technical issues, yet, the government has disbursed Rs 3,300 crore to farmers and arhtiyas for the paddy harvested in the current season.
Won’t Pay for RDF on Paddy
Centre, in a letter to Secretary, Food and Civil Supplies, Punjab stated that it would not keep a provision for Rural Development Fund (RDF) in the Cash Credit Limit extended for the current paddy procurement season. Further, it said that the state’s utilization of the fund is also under scrutiny. To this, Punjab Food Minister Bharat Bhushan Ashu complained that the government is doing this to them because the farmers are protesting against the farm laws. Further, he added that the government has refused to pay RDF to the state.
The state collects around Rs 3,500 crores annually as market and RD fee for providing its Mandis for selling wheat, paddy, basmati, and cotton. The state has 1800 Mandis across the state and 70,000 km-rural link roads along with other infrastructure to facilitate smooth procurement of crops. It spends RDF on the development of this infrastructure.
In all, despite FCI’s confirmation of the smooth procurement of Kharif season crops, farmers are complaining of delayed procurements. Also, if Punjab does not get RDF, it will cost around Rs 1,100 crore in the paddy season alone.