Despite record wheat production in Madhya Pradesh, the farmers are an unhappy lot as the shortage of jute bags to stock the foodgrain has nullified their achievement and even triggered violent protests.
One farmer was killed in Bareli town of Raisen district early this week when police fired on agriculturists protesting the shortage of jute bags popularly known as `bardana' in the state.
The jute bag issue also rocked Parliament, where Opposition led by BJP, which is ruling Madhya Pradesh, criticised the Centre over the issue and demanded immediate steps to overcome the paucity.
The Congress, main Opposition in the State, led by its MP unit President Kantilal Bhuria, also raised the issue in New Delhi and demanded relief for farmers.
Agencies in Madhya Pradesh have procured 50.27 lakh MT of wheat till May 10, a record in itself. The total procurement during the entire rabi season last year was 49.64 lakh MT, official sources said.
The state is expected to procure 76.92 lakh MT of wheat this year, while the output is likely to cross 100 lakh MT, they said.
"The agencies responsible for procurement failed to make an accurate assessment of total wheat production and also requirement of bardana, which resulted in a major crisis in the state," Agriculture Department's former Director G S Kaushal told PTI.
Kaushal, in his report on `suicides committed by farmers', has recommended that instead of storing procured wheat in Government godowns, it would be better if farmers were allowed to stock the produce on their own through traditional method of underground storage facility, known as `bande' or `kothi' in local parlance.