CCI makes direct payment of 430 cr in four months to cotton growers

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Updated on Jan 30, 2020 10:53 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, Chandigarh | ByVishal Joshi, Bathinda

The Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) has set an example for the Punjab government, as the state attempts to implement the model of direct payment to farmers for agricultural produce that state agencies procure.

After private players indulged in purchasing the crop below the minimum support price (MSP) of 5,450 per quintal, CCI entered the state’s market from October 1. The central body introduced direct payment method in the state this season and disbursed 430 crore to over 20,000 farmers in six districts of south Malwa belt. Under the initiative, arthiyas or middlemen were not paid for cotton purchase with the amount transferred directly into farmers’ account within 48 hours. CCI officials claim the only issue they faced in making direct payments was that some farmers had not updated their bank details.

“Over the past two years, the banking sector experienced significant changes, including mergers of banks, but a section of farmers had not maintained their passbooks, IFSC code of banks and new cheque books. Farmers who sold their produce through the CCI were guided to get their bank details updated. Payments were strictly made directly to bank accounts,” said a CCI functionary, not authorised to speak to the media.

“Initially, farmers were hesitant to accept this new method of direct payment. There was, however, no complaint or agitation on the issue of payments. As cotton growers have experienced the novel model of direct payment, it will help the state government in inculcating confidence among farmers ahead of the major wheat procurement exercise,” says a district official.

Agency has brought 28% of produce

Punjab’s coordinator for cotton Rajnish Goel said CCI had purchased about 7.6 lakh quintal, 28% of total crop sold, till January 27. “Till Monday, farmers had sold 26.5 lakh quintal cotton; private players purchased 18.8 lakh quintal,” said Goel. Joginder Singh, state chief of BKU (Ekta-Ugrahan) said the CCI’s model of payment did not cause any inconvenience to cotton growers. “Direct payment was a long-pending demand and we will welcome its roll out by the Punjab government. It will help in increased transparency and farmers will be saved from exploitation by a section of unscrupulous arthiyas,” he added.

CCI authorities say about 30% cotton stock has been held back by farmers hoping for better pricing by private players and major purchase is likely to continue till February 15.

Quote (if needed)

As cotton growers have experienced the novel model of direct payment, it will help the state government in inculcating confidence among farmers ahead of the major wheat procurement exercise.

A state agriculture dept official

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