SOME TOP BJP leaders could gain in crores at the expense of the MP Agro and Markfed from Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s announcement in the recent Kisan Panchayat allowing farmers to buy farm products from open market with State subsidy.
The announcement will deprive MP Agro Industries Development Corporation business of about Rs 50 crore and Markfed about Rs 25 crore a year.
So far, Markfed and MP Agro are the Government agencies through which farmers procure farming – related products like tractors, trolleys, pesticides, fertilisers with Government subsidies.
Both these undertakings supply equipment like tractors, thrashers, plant protection equipments, tractor - drawn equipments, B D equipments, drip irrigation equipments, pesticides and fertilisers to farmers while charging some commission and service charges.
Of course, there have been complaints of corruption in procurement but close monitoring could have checked such malpractices. Moreover, scope for corruption is limited. But, the procurement from open market has opened a floodgate for private agri implement agencies to make a kill.
Patwa Abhikaran, the biggest farm implement agency in the Malwa region stands to gain most from the announcement. It is owned by former Chief Minister and the Chief Minister’s mentor Sundar Lal Patwa. Agriculture Minister Chandrabhan Singh and Urban Development Minister Jayant Malaiya are also in the business of agri equipments, particularly tractors.
While the Patwa Abhikaran has operations in Ratlam, Jaora, Neemuch and Indore districts, Choudhary’s business is in Chhindwara and Betul districts and Malaiya’s in his home district Damoh. BJP MP Vijay Khandelwal, organisation secretary Jitendra Kapoor and several other party leaders are also in the business of farm equipments.
According to sources, Government offers varying amount of subsidy for procurement, ranging from Rs 30,000 on tractors to a few thousands on smaller products. Mandarins in Markfed, the MP Agro and financing banks are known to earn a certain cut on Government subsidy but procurement of the product has to be made. Besides, there is little chance on compromise with standard of the product.
However, once the procurement starts from the open market, business establishments can sell the same product many times over to farmers in collusion with agriculture and bank officers.
AGRICULTURE MINISTER Choudhary Chandrabhan Singh, however, said the decision will hit the monopoly of Government institutions and farmers will get quality products. “If the Government undertakings want to sustain their business they have to compete with private players and provide quality products on competitive prices,” he added.