Punjab Congress president Amarinder Singh on Friday raised the issue of problems faced by farmers on procurement in the state with Union Food and Public Distribution Minister Ram Vilas Paswan. Alleging a nexus between the Akali government and inspectors in state mandis, he complained to Paswan that as a result of this “collusion”, the farmers’ paddy was not being picked up from mandis.
“The farmers were thus being forced into a situation where, out of sheer desperation, they would have to sell their paddy at lower rates, helping the Akali middlemen make money out of the criminal nexus,” he told Paswan.
In the telephonic conversation, the food minister assured Amarinder that he would look into the matter on priority and take required action.
The PPCC chief told Paswan that he had personally visited several mandis, where he had checked the paddy quality and found the moisture content within the permissible range. “Yet, procurement inspectors were rejecting the same paddy citing excess moisture,” he pointed out, adding, “this clearly showed a strong and unholy nexus involving the Akalis.”
During his 3-day roadshow, as part of his Kisan Yatra, Amarinder had earlier this week visited several mandis in Bhagapurana, Kotkapura, Faridkot, Bathinda, Doda, Muktsar, Guru Har Sahai and Ferozepur.
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Farmers in all the mandis had come out in large numbers to share their woes with the Punjab Congress president, who assured them of taking up the matter with the Centre.
“Many farmers complained that they had been camping at the mandis for more than a week, waiting for their paddy to be picked up. But the inspectors were deliberately delaying the whole process,” said Amarinder.
He has already promised the farmers of the state to waive their debts once he comes to power. Launching his kisan yatra, he had given his personal guarantee to farmers that their debt would be waived.
The Congress leaders and workers across the state are currently engaged in the loan waiver campaign. Punjab is slated to go to polls early next year.
“Spoke to Union Minister Ramvilas Paswan today regarding problems in procurement being faced by farmers of Punjab. Have been assured of a swift and suitable action,” Amarinder later said.