‘Agents robbing cotton farmers’https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/chandigarh/agents-robbing-cotton-farmers/

‘Agents robbing cotton farmers’

Union Minister for Textiles Shankersinh Vaghela today said commission agents were robbing cotton farmers in Punjab.

Three textile parks to come up in Punjab,says Union minister Vaghela

Union Minister for Textiles Shankersinh Vaghela today said commission agents were robbing cotton farmers in Punjab. He said while most of the state governments have done away with commission agents,who were siphoning off crores of rupees from farmers every year,the Punjab government has failed to eliminate the age-old system of middlemen.

Vaghela,who was talking to mediapersons after attending the meetings of Hindi Salahkar Samiti and Parliamentary Consultative Committee of the Ministry of Textile,said Punjab was the only state where commission agents take 2.5 per cent from farmers’ hard-earned money. “This year alone,cotton growers of the state have paid more than Rs 30 crore to the commission agents,” he said,while suggesting the state government to waive the 2 per cent sales tax on the crop.

When asked about any special package,he said the government was concerned about farmers,but extending the same facilities to rich farmers was not justifiable.

He also said the case of waiving of Rs 2,600-crore loans of handloom cooperatives was lying with the Finance Ministry. He admitted that the industry was facing tough competition from China and they were mulling a relief package. “The economic downturn in the USA,EU and other developed nations is affecting the industry. The government is in the process of setting up 40 textile parks throughout the country under the Scheme for Integrated Textile Parks (SITP),” he said,adding that in Punjab at least three such parks,at Barnala,Nawanshahr and Ludhiana,would be set up with an investment of Rs 1,404 crore.

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He said the Cotton Corporation of India has procured 9.6 lakh cotton bales from Punjab and rationalisation of fiscal duties undertaken during the last four-and-a-half year has provided a level playing field in all segments of the industry. The minister said textile sector has witnessed a spurt in investment during the past over four years. “This enhanced investment will generate 17.37 million jobs by 2012,” he said.