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Haryana: 4 market committee officials suspended for fraudulent activities, mustard procurement hit

Inquiry initiated into the matter; farmers express worry as they await process to resume
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh | By Sunil Rahar, Rohtak
UPDATED ON MAY 29, 2020 08:39 PM IST

Mustard procurement in Haryana turned murky when involvement of certain market committee officials in fraudulent activities surfaced, leading to their suspension. An inquiry has been initiated into the matter and we have suspended four market committee officials, confirmed additional chief secretary, agriculture and farmers’ welfare department, Sanjeev Kaushal on Friday.

Mustard growers have, meanwhile, expressed their worries and said they haven’t been able to sell their produce for past more than a week.

Procurement at many centres was stopped after the government received complaints regarding illegal activities involving some commission agents, farmers and market committee officials.

They were allegedly selling the mustard bought from Rajasthan in the name of local farmers at the MSP of Rs 4,425 per quintal in state mandis. Additional chief secretary Kaushal said, “Some commission agents purchased the mustard from Rajasthan at rates Rs 600-700 lower than prescribed and sold the same in Haryana mandis with the help of certain farmers and market committee officials.”

“We are registering FIRs against those involved in the scam. Most of the farmers have already sold their produce and the crop of remaining ones will be purchased after proper verification,” Kaushal added.

‘WAITING FOR MY TURN FOR PAST 8 DAYS’

The government has been procuring mustard (40 quintals from a farmer in one go) across 165 centres in the state.

Sumod Kumar, a farmer from Bhiwani’s Surpura Khurd village, said the government had stopped purchasing their crop on May 20. “Many farmers from my village have sold their crop and few of them even received payment. But, I have been waiting for my turn for the past eight days. When I contacted commission agents and market committee officials, they told me that they will resume the process after getting a green signal from the government,” he said.

“Mandi officials had issued tokens to farmers at Behal Mandi on May 20 and since then, many of them are waiting for resumption of procurement,” he added.

However, since the procurement process was stopped across mandis, the private dealers have been reportedly buying mustard at 4,100 to 4,180 per quintal.

Raj Bala, a farmer from Dadri’s Atela village, said she was worried as the government has not been procuring their produce for the past five days.

“The commission agent had told me last week that my turn to sell mustard will come up by May 25. When I called him again, he told me that the mandi officials were not issuing tokens and the procurement process was put on hold. He assured me that I’d be informed if the government reopens mandis this week,” the farmer added.

Dadri market committee secretary Suresh Khokar said the government had issued orders to stop the mustard purchase to ensure lifting of pending crop procured from commission agents and store the same at government godowns.

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