Paddy procurement begins early: Farmers, arhtiyas in Ambala allege absence of arrangements in mandis
A day after the Haryana government announced paddy procurement, a few days earlier than usual, farmers and arhtiyas (commission agents) of Ambala are still unclear on where to begin.
The ready crop is laying in the mandis in huge quantities with no clarity on when it will be purchased, leaving the farmers in a fray whether to stay or to leave.
Farmers at the Ambala City mandi have alleged that they have been fooled by the government, who have not expressed any intention on buying the crop yet.
Gurvinder, a farmer from Mohra village, said the government wants to buy the crop that has a moisture content of less than 17%. “This condition can’t be fulfilled as mandis are full with very little procurement. We want our old system back that had the involvement of commission agents. Otherwise, the mandi system will collapse.” Gurvinder, who is yet to harvest his ready crop, said if he didn’t sell it now, his crop would rot.
Crop rates, labour rates undisclosed
An office bearer of a commission agents’ body alleged that they had not been given any bardana bags by the government yet. He added that the crop rates, labour rates and other prices were yet to be told to them.
To check the procurement process, Haryana Democratic Front (HDF) leader Chitra Sarwara visited Ghasitpur mandi and found that the whole mandi was full of paddy with no space left. “My visit apprised me of the fact that there is confusion between the commission agents and shellers. Government wants the farmer to sell it directly to the shellers, but they are waiting to purchase it from agents. The harried lot are the farmers, who have been waiting for almost a week at the mandi without any facility even for drinking water,” she said.
“Farmers told me that they have grown around 200 quintals and they have received a message to sell only 1 quintal. They fear that if their ready crop in the mandi is not sold on time, their remaining crop will rote or worse, rain could destroy both the crops,” Chitra told the Hindustan Times.
On receiving a call from this correspondent, HAFED Ambala district manager Vikas Deswal said he was busy in a video conference, and later failed to respond to calls or messages.
In a statement, district food supply controller (DFSC) Anil Kumar said out of 10,719 metric tonne crop that had arrived at the mandis, 1,929 metric tonne had been bought by the agencies.