With a number of rice mills in Mansa district declared defaulters, the lifting of paddy has been slow and thus affecting the procurement and forcing the farmers to go to neighbouring Haryana to sell their produce.
Officials of the procurement agencies though blame the high moisture content as the main reason behind the slow procurement. However, in Budhlada sub-division of Mansa district, no procurement is being done and farmers are forced to sell their produce in neighbouring Haryana. The farmers are finding the Haryana option viable despite the fact that they have to bear the extra transportation cost and lose another 5% if the moisture content is more than the permissible limit of 17%.
The procurement agencies are facing problems in distributing the procured paddy among shellers in Mansa district as out of 127 rice mills, around 50 had been declared defaulters, meaning they won't get any business.
The grain markets of Ratia and Bahmanwala villages in Haryana are the new hotspots for the Mansa farmers, who are transporting their produce in tractor-trolleys via Boha-Ratia road.
As per data collected from office of district mandi board, last year, only 6,373 MT paddy had arrived in the grain markets of district till mid-October, whereas this year 27,000 MT of paddy had arrived, of which 17,500 MT had been procured and only 7,000 MT lifted. In Budhlada and Bareta blocks, where most of the shellers had been declared defaulters, the paddy procurement and lifting had been badly affected. In Budhlada, 4,734 MT paddy had arrived of which only 2,900 MT was procured. Similarly, in Bareta, of the 1,690 MT paddy arrived, only 807 MT has been procured.
District mandi officer Mohan Singh Pannu said, “It's up to the farmers where they want to sell their produce. Produce with less than 17% moisture content is being procured as it arrives. In Haryana, the farmers are paying 5% of the total value of the produce if moisture content is above 17%.”
Speaking to HT, Bhartiya Kisan Union finance secretary Darshan Singh Gurnekala said, “Farmers have no option but to sell their produce in Haryana as no procurement is being done in Budhlada and Bareta areas.”
Punjab loses `52 per quintal sold in Haryana
For every quintal of paddy sold in Haryana at the minimum support price `1,345, the Punjab government loses around `52 in 2% market committee fee and 2% pendu vikas fund it charges from farmers.