A day after The Indian Express reported on the sale of cotton in Punjab mandis at prices below the MSP, SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal visited Fazilka mandis to directly interact with farmers.
“This is what I have been insisting that Centre declares MSP but they need to see whether purchase happens at MSP or not. If PM is listening, I want to tell him that I am in Fazilka mandi where farmers are selling cotton at Rs 4,800 per quintal against the MSP of 5,725 a quintal. Farmer is selling to private players as CCI has not yet visited this mandi. They have just started going in few mandis of Mansa and Bathinda,” said Sukhbir.
He declared: “From Monday, our teams will be in every cotton mandi to see if farmers are facing problems.”
Farmer Sohan Singh of Shahpur village in Jalalabad constituency, who was standing next to the SAD chief, said: “I am waiting for the past two days, but CCI has not come here. Private players offered me Rs 4,800 per quintal, so what do I do. I cannot wait more as I am a senior citizen and I have to go back. How long I can sit in mandi and wait for a better price.”
Sukhbir said that CCI never comes to the market in the initial days and a large chunk is purchased by private players at a price below MSP.
So far, out of1.25 lakh quintal arrival of cotton in Malwa mandis, only 12,000 quintal has been purchased by CCI so far….I am standing in Fazilka where former Punjab minister Surjit Kumar Jyani lives who is now chairman of BJP panel to talk with farmers and arhtiyas. I am telling Jyani to raise this issue before PM. This is the real issue behind these 3 farm laws. MSP remains, but purchase does not happen on the ground. Even for paddy as well, below MSP purchase is being done in many mandis. This is a sad story of affairs and fears of farmers for which they are agitating and we are with them.”
Attacking Punjab government, Sukhbir said: “Punjab CM should talk to CCI officials on this issue…” Meanwhile, farmers revealed that CCI had started purchase from Fazilka mandi on October 12 last year and this year too they will come on the same date.
SAD president, however, said: “There is no fixed date to come in market. Procurement started from October 1….”
Meanwhile in Bhucho mandi, BKU(Ugrahan) lodged a protest Saturday afternoon soon after purchase was started in the mandi.
Meanwhile, CCI has stated that they are purchasing cotton as per the quality of product from mandis.
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