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Chandigarh: ‘Arhtiyas are protesting, govt is adamant while farmers suffer’

Hooda calls Khattar, says the crop procurement is too chaotic, slow

By: Express News Service | Chandigarh | April 23, 2020 4:16:13 am
Mr. Dori Lal Assistant Regional Director Food & Supply (S&R) Government of India, Department of Food and Public Distribution, Quality Control Cell, Lucknow and his team inspects and take samples of wheat grain from grain market at Bahadurgarh near patiala on Tuesday. Express photo

THE HARYANA government and Opposition have locked horns over the ongoing crop procurement process in the state. While the government maintains that it stands committed to buying each and every grain from its farmers, the Opposition on Wednesday slammed the government, alleging chaos and mismanagement at the grain markets (mandis).

Former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda called Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar and raised concerns about the “chaos” and “slow pace” of crop procurement. During the long phone call, Hooda highlighted “mismanagement” in mandis too.

Drawing the chief minister’s attention towards an emerging crisis, Hooda appealed that the government make the procurement process more smooth by coordinating with arhtiyas (commission agents) and farmers. Arhtiyas have gone on strike in several mandis of the state, accusing government of bypassing them in the process.

“At the speed at which the government is procuring crop, the wheat produced by the state will take at least 3-4 months and the process will go on till August. The purchase of mustard is even slower. The farmer is worried about how they will sow the next crop as the already harvested crop will take months to be sold. It is important to increase the pace of purchasing the crop in the broader interest of the country and the state,” Hooda said.

“I told the chief minister that the Opposition does not want to play any politics during this period of pandemic and stands with the government in every possible way. But it would be a great injustice to remain silent after seeing the unbearable condition of farmers, who have got nothing to do with the politics. A farmer feeds the entire country. It is the responsibility of everyone, whether in government or Opposition, to raise the voice of the farmer and ensure they get justice,” Hooda told The Indian Express.

“Today, the merchants are agitating and the government is adamant. The farmer has to bear the consequences of their confrontation. First paddy, then mustard and now the wheat produced by the farmer is getting ruined due to the stubborn attitude of the government. Farmers are struggling to sell their crop. Even after several rounds of meetings, there was no agreement between the arhtiyas and the government. Farmer is reaching the mandis across the state with his crop but he has neither been able to sell mustard crop, nor is his wheat being sold,” Hooda added.

The Congress leader also blamed the government’s “new experiments” for the ongoing chaos at the mandis. “This mismanagement in procurement is taking place because the government is busy trying new experiments in the buying process at a time when the world is facing a pandemic. The government should have made the procedure instead of introducing new concepts that nobody has the time or patience to understand at this hour. The governments of Punjab, Rajasthan and other states have also carried out purchase the old way and the process is running smoothly,” Hooda said.

“The chief minister has assured me that he will speak to both Arhtiyas and farmers and find an amicable solution to the problem,” he added.

Procurement will be completed in time: Dushyant

Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala, however, said that the government stands by its commitment with the farmers and will ensure that procurement is completed within the stipulated time and both farmers and arhtiyas are paid their dues.

“After procurement, while arhtiyas will get their payments within two days, the money will reach farmers’ accounts within three days. The procurement is unnecessarily being politicised. Since April 15 when the mustard procurement commenced, approximately 58,000 vehicles were issued gate passes in mandis and over 1.56 lakh metric tonnes of mustard has been procured. In the next three months, government shall procure more than 80 per cent mustard crop. For the wheat procurement that commenced on April 20, more than 2.80 lakh metric tonnes of wheat has already been procured,” Dushyant told mediapersons Wednesday.

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