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HindustanTimes Mon,14 Jul 2014

Farmers in the lurch as two opt out of procurement process

Raghbir Singh Brar, Hindustan Times  Faridkot, October 23, 2013
First Published: 20:32 IST(23/10/2013) | Last Updated: 20:54 IST(23/10/2013)

Two agencies Markfed and Punsup have stopped paddy procurement at the Kotkapura grain market, thus slowing down the ongoing process further and leaving the farmers in the lurch.

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"Earlier, five agencies were procuring paddy and each one of them had been assigned portions of the market for hassle-free procurement. Now, when the Marfed and Punsup have opted out, there is pressure on the remaining three agencies,"said a member of the Arhtiya association, Kotkapura.

The Food Corporation of India has been asked to step in and fill the gap, but most of the commission agents are reluctant to sell their produce to FCI for it goes strictly by the laid down norms while procuring the produce.

The commission agents said that rice mills too had been divided among the five agencies and now some adjustments would need to be made to look after the rice mills assigned to Markfed and Punsup.

District food and supply controller Jaspreet Singh Kahlon could not be contacted despite repeated attempts.

The worst hit are the farmers, whose paddy was supposed to be procured by Markfed and Punsup. "Punsup was making procurement in our section and now its been four days that my produce is lying here. Nobody comes here to even check my produce,"said Mela Singh, former pachayat member from Dhilwan Kalan.

Another farmer said that he could not sell his produce at the MSP. "There was a deduction of `35 per quintal,"he said.

"I have been sitting in the grain market with my produce for 6 days now. They offer me less than the MSP, saying moisture content is higher than the permissible limit and it is discoloured. The produce is lying in the open and vehicles run over it. Political leaders promise big things but the ground realities are different,"said Jaswinder Singh of Wander Jatana village.

"I have been sitting here for four days to sell my produce without success, said Jasvir Singh, former sarpanch of Narayangarh.

When contacted, Faridkot deputy commissioner Mohammad Tayyab Markfed and Punsup's exit from the procurement process was the decision of the government. "FCI is going to start procurement in Kotkapura. Farmers will face no problem, he said.

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