THE STATE government’s procurement of tur has reached an all-time high, with various agencies procuring more than 3.6 lakh tonnes of the commodity during the rabi season of 2016-17.
Procurement centres in the state are to cease their operations this Saturday, although there are demands from a farmers’ organisation to keep them operational for some more time.
In view of increased production and sliding prices, the central and state government had announced procurement of tur. It was expected that the procurement would help in arresting the price slide and would help procure for the 20 lakh tonnes of buffer stock of various pulses. Nafed and Small Farmers Agribusiness Consortium (SFAC), along with the Food Corporation of India (FCI), had waded in for the procurement.
SFAC had subcontracted the MahaFPC — the apex body of Farmers Producers Company (FPC) — to procure 35,000 tonnes of tur.
Till date, 3.6 lakh tonnes of pulses has been procured in the state. This, the officials said, was an all-time high of such procurement. Around four to five years ago, the state had seen 2.5 lakh tonnes of the procurement of pulses. Procurement in Maharashtra, especially during the last few months, had seen controversies over the unavailability of gunny bags, which had suspended the procurement for some time. Unending queues were noticed outside the procurement centres in Marathwada and Vidharbha regions, with farmers having to wait for 20-25 days for their chance. Senior officials of the state government said they had asked for an extension of the purchase but chances of it being granted appear to be slim.
Rajeev Satav, Congress MP from Hingoli, meanwhile, alleged that around 60-70 per cent of the tur purchased in procurement centres belonged to the traders. “Traders had purchased the tur at cheaper rates and had sold it at procurement centres at Rs 5,050 per quintal,” he said.
Satav added that he had raised the issue, but no one looked into the matter. Meanwhile, the question before the government is how to deal with this stock of tur in godowns. Yogesh Thorat, CMD of MahaFPC, said they will soon put forth a proposal to allow them to mill the pulse and make daal out of it. “We need to find out proper avenues for utilisation of the tur,” he added.