Thousands of quintals of wheat procured by the Madhya Pradesh government and waiting to be transported to warehouses were damaged in rains that battered several parts of the state on Thursday.
Madhya Pradesh has purchased 125.60 lakh MT of wheat from farmers—the highest ever in the state—since the procurement drive began. Currently, only Punjab has procured more. While the government claimed nearly 90 per cent of the wheat had been safely moved away, it admitted that the rains, triggered by Cyclone Nisarga, damaged the stock lying in the open.
Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said it was a challenge to safely store wheat in the open, but said farmers will not bear the brunt as they would get full payment for the commodity they sold to the government.
The procurement process was scheduled to end on May 31. However, it’s still going on in areas where farmers have not been able to approach procurement centres for a variety of reasons. The Chief Minister has asked bureaucrats to ensure vehicles are sent from districts where procurement and transportation has been completed to areas where the process is incomplete.
Former Chief Minister Kamal Nath blamed the Chouhan government’s “negligence” for the damage. “Despite rain alerts due to Cyclone Nisarga the government did not act in time which led to large-scale damage to wheat and losses running into crores,’’ the former union minister said.
The Congress veteran said there was a bumper crop and the procurement at minimum support price was delayed. “The government made many a tall claim and shared statistics but the reality was different as farmers suffered. There was a shortage of sacks, there was no facility for weighing and storage at many places which delayed the process.”
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