The strike by commission agents in Faridkot entered the second day on Tuesday with all the grain markets in the district remaining shut.
The agents are on a three-day strike since Monday, demanding they be paid for the paddy sold to government agencies.
The Faridkot commission agents claim they are yet to be paid about Rs 125 crore by procurement agencies in the district.
The commission agents’ body, the Ahartiyas Association of Punjab, has announced a statewide strike on Wednesday in all the grain markets on the issue of non-payment.
“The commission agents in the state are yet to receive payments worth Rs 3,500 crore for the paddy sold to government agencies. In some grain markets of the state, no payment has been made after November 18 while some agents have not received anything from October 28. The first payments were also delayed for about 20 days and farmers and commission agents have lost about Rs 150 crore as interest due to the delay,” said Vijay Kalra, state president of the association.
“First, the central and state governments created the issue of increase of weight of paddy in gunny bags from 35 kg to 40kg. Later, the payments were delayed. The central government wants to do away with the policy of MSP (minimum support price), which will destroy farmers in the state,” he said.
The commission agents from Kotkapura sat on a dharna before the office of the market committee.
“The farmers want money to pay their loans and borrow money again. We have already exhausted all our financial resources and now paddy payments are being delayed. The Kotkapura grain market is yet to receive Rs 50 crore for paddy,” said Ashok Kumar Goyal, general secretary of the association from Kotkapura.
Mohinder Kumar Bansal, cashier with the commission agents association in Faridkot, said, “The migrant labourers from Uttar Pradesh arrived after a month to get their dues, but we are unable to pay them. There has been no sale or purchase since Monday.” Kalra said, “We have called for a statewide strike. After handing over a memorandum, we have plans to block the Ludhiana–Delhi national highway and stop trains.”