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War of words between Gehlot, Saini over garlic farmers plight

Delay in purchase of garlic at fair price through MIS had hit farmers in Rajasthan who have been forced to sell the crop at throwaway prices.

jaipur Updated: Jun 20, 2018 22:01 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Jaipur
Rajasthan news
Ashok Gehlot. (PTI fFILE PHOTO)

While garlic farmers in Hadauti region of Rajasthan struggling to sell their produce at fair price, a war of words has broken out between former chief minister Ashok Gehlot and state agriculture minister Prabhulal Saini.

On Tuesday, Gehlot in a series of tweets targeted Vasundhara Raje saying that even as they are “busy in propaganda” over farm loan waiver, the farmers in chief minister’s home constituency are facing financial problems due to crash in prices of garlic and state government’s failure to purchase it at fair price. Gehlot also said that five farmers have committed suicide in the region in the past two months but no government’s representative has met the family members to offer condolences or relief.

Reacting to his state, Saini said that Gehlot was “a master” in spreading rumours. “The state government has taken a series of steps for farmers’ welfare. The Opposition has nothing better to do but to spread rumours,” he said.

“Gehlot should reveal the quantity of crops purchased at minimum support price during his tenure. Why didn’t his government intervene in 2012 when garlic prices had dropped to Rs 2 per kg,” Saini said. He said during Gehlot’s regime (2008-2013), the quantity of garlic purchased under market intervention scheme (MIS) was one-tenth of what has been done by the BJP government.

Earlier this month, former home minister in Gehlot government, Shanti Dhariwal had also targetted Saini and demanded his resignation after a farmer committed suicide in Bundi.

As reported earlier, delay in purchase of garlic at fair price through MIS had hit farmers in Rajasthan who have been forced to sell the crop at throwaway prices.

The garlic crop started arriving in the market in March, but prices crashed due to a bumper production this year. While the Union agriculture ministry had approved the Rajasthan government’s request to purchase garlic at fair price on April 12, the implementation was delayed by about 15 days.

Under the MIS, the government is buying garlic at Rs 3,257 per quintal from the farmers and the upper cap is 40 quintal per family. The entire system in online and RAJFED has targeted to purchase 1.54 metric tons of the produce against 7.12 lakh metric tons of production.

Even after government intervention close to 6 lakh metric tonne of garlic will be sold at throwaway prices or remain unsold. The Hataudi region comprising Kota, Bundi, Jahawar and Baran, accounts for about 90% of the state’s production.

First Published: Jun 20, 2018 22:01 IST