The Punjab government's offer of direct payment to farmers in the paddy procurement season has no taker.
The 103 farmers who registered with market committees in the district preferred to go via commission agents, the old system. The farmers said they were not approached again after they had given the market committees their bank account numbers and all other required details. The committee officials said it was farmers who had not turned up to submit more information being sought.
The mandi board officials claimed to have found in a survey that farmers had not responded positively to the direct payment offer. The 12 farmers contacted on Sunday had all registered for direct payment and said they would have used the system if the officials concerned had cooperated and tried to implement it. "A market committee official came to my house and took my bank account number, mobile phone and other details," said farmer Manjit Singh of Mirapur village. "Since that day, I have received no call from the committee and I don't know what happened to direct payment."
Now Manjit Singh has sold his entire paddy the old way through arhitya (commission agent) and received payment. If officials had given him the option of direct payment, he would have taken it.
Tarlochan Singh of Udhopur village also gave his details to the officials as demanded but now has sold his crop through arhtiya. "Direct payment is good option, but after collecting details, the officials don't even talk about it," he said.
Iqbal Singh of Athola village also wanted to enroll for direct payment. "It was a good system but I have no idea what happened after I gave my details to officials," he said. "Most farmers have good relations with commission agents, who help them in need, and are accustomed to dealing with them," he added.
Direct or circuitous?
Amrik Singh of Kohala said the old system was better. He finds the direct payment procedure lengthy, as farmers have to visit banks, agencies and other offices to get payment.
Asked to react, district mandi officer Harinder Singh Randhawa said that in a survey conducted through the deputy general manager (Jalandhar division) of the department, farmers had been asked why they had not chosen the direct payment system. "Most farmers said that they were satisfied with old system," he said.
About the farmers' allegation that officials had not contacted them after taking on details, he said if any farmer requiring direct payment could come to his office. "The survey might have skipped some farmers," he said.
Most farmers have good relations with commission agents (as they take loans from them) and are accustomed to dealing with them
Farmers allege officials don't contact them after taking details; they have submitted many particulars but the officials want more facts
Farmers find direct payment procedure lengthy, as they have to visit banks, agencies and multiple other offices to get payment.