Soon after the Chhattisgarh government announced that paddy procurement in the state will start from December 1 instead of November 1, the BJP alleged that farmer organisations will suffer huge losses as the harvesting has already started 15 days ago. The state agriculture minister claimed that there was a shortage of jute sacks in the market because of Covid-19 which has caused the delay in procurement.
The BJP also demanded that Congress promise to procure paddy at Rs 25,000, which is around Rs 700 above than Minimum Support Price ( MSP). It further said that the difference amount being given in four installments, should be given in one go to the farmers.
“During Raman Singh’s government, the paddy procurement always started from November 1 which was beneficial for the farmers of the state since the paddy harvesting starts from mid-October. Now, since the Congress government decided to procure from December 1, where will the farmers store their paddy? Earlier, after harvesting the farmers used to directly transport paddy to the procurement centres but this time they have to store somewhere… In this process, the farmers of the state will suffer huge losses,” state BJP president Vishnu Deo Sai told Hindustan Times.
Sai further said that the farmers have no money in this festive season.
“If the paddy procurement would have been done early, the farmer would have had money for Diwali. They have no cash in this festive season,” he said.
Notably, in the marketing year 2019-20, the Congress-run government claimed that about 83 lakh metric tonnes of paddy has been procured, which is a record since the formation of the state.
In comparison to 2018-19, 2,50,000 more farmers have sold paddy in the state. About 80 lakh metric tonnes of paddy was purchased in the state at the support price last year.
In November 2019, the Congress government had decided to procure paddy at Rs 1,835 per quintal, at the rate fixed by the Centre but also said it is committed to fulfilling all the promises made to the state’s farmers. It had also said that it will find a way so that farmers get Rs 2500 per quintal.
The Centre had fixed Rs 1,815 per quintal for common grade paddy and Rs 1,835 per quintal for Grade A paddy as compensation. Later, a five-member committee was constituted to study how a benefit of Rs 2,500 per quintal could be ensured to farmers.
The Bhupesh Baghel government launched a scheme “ Rajiv Gandhi Nyay Yojna” under which the difference amount will be given in four installments.
Raising questions on Yojna, former minister and senior BJP leader Rajesh Munat said that Congress should make it clear whether they are giving the difference amount this time to farmers or not.
“State minister Mohammad Akbar has recently said that the government will purchase paddy at MSP and has told nothing about the difference amount. The farmers of the state are confused hence the government should clear the air. Second, the last installment of Rajiv Gandhi Nyay Yojna for 2019-20 marketing year is still pending and the government has announced the date of 2020-19…Why the money is given in installments,” said Munat.
Commenting over the allegations, state agriculture minister Ravindra Chaubey said that the BJP has no right to ask questions over installment since it is Congress government’s Yojna.
“The BJP should ask their bosses at the Centre why it is not giving a single paisa more than MSP to the farmers of Chhattisgarh? We have made a promise to the farmers and we will fufil it by any means and BJP has no right to ask questions on installments. Second, there is a shortage of jute sacks in the market because of Covid-19, which is the reason behind the delay in procurement. We are committed to procure paddy from the farmers of the state,” Chaubey told HT.
“This is a fact that the farmers of the state will suffer due to the delay in paddy procurement for one month. The harvesting has started and most of the farmers have no facility to store their produce. We have demanded that the state government fix the procurement date as November 1,” said Sanket Thakur, Convener, Chhattisgarh Kisan Mazdoor Sangh.