Pea farmers in Punjab have claimed that many farmers have been excluded from the list of growers eligible for compensation from the government. The licence of two retailers to sell seeds too have been cancelled on the basis of a government inquiry.
Farmers claim that they had to plough their field after suffering lower than expected harvest from their crop in December.
The Chief Minister had already announced compensation to the tune of Rs 1.56 crore for over 900 farmers and a vigilance bureau inquiry.
Farmers, however, complain that the list of beneficiaries of the government’s compensation excludes many of them. They further said that they were not informed of the rate at which they would receive their compensation.
The seeds for the crop were distributed by the National Seed Corporation (NSC) after receiving the agriculture department. Moreover, the department issues licenses to retailers who sell the seeds to the farmers.
Farmers claim that most of the failed crop were sown using these seeds.
Following an inquiry by the horticulture department, the licence of Harvinder Brar, who runs Brar Seeds, a retailer in Ludhiana, has been cancelled. He has been banned from selling seeds anywhere in Punjab. Another retailer in Hoshairpur has also had his licence cancelled by the department.
“As per the department, the seeds of two varieties were sold together to the farmers. So basically, a farmer may have sown both varieties at the same time on the same field,” said Sukhpal Singh, Chief Agriculture Officer, Ludhiana. “The retailers are also accountable. They should not have accepted sub-standard stock.” Brar said he will challenge this decision.
Director Agriculture, Dr Gurdial Singh said, “If certified seeds of the NSC were being sold, then I don’t think that the dealers are at fault. However, only a vigilance inquiry will help establish the facts of the case. The samples are being checked and action will follow.”
Narinder Singh, a farmer who had purchased seeds from Brar Seeds said, “We had sown in November and in December, the crops simply flowered. No pea grew.”