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UP: Paddy sowing verification to keep middlemen at bay

For the first time, the Uttar Pradesh government will verify the genuineness of the registered paddy farmers before it begins procurement this year.

lucknow Updated: Jul 23, 2018 12:23 IST
Brajendra K Parashar
Brajendra K Parashar
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
Uttar Pradesh,Verification,Middlemen
The move is aimed to curtail the role of middlemen in the procurement chain to ensure that the benefits of the minimum support price accrue to genuine farmers only.(File Photo)

For the first time, the Uttar Pradesh government will verify the genuineness of the registered paddy farmers before it begins procurement this year.

The move is aimed to curtail the role of middlemen in the procurement chain to ensure that the benefits of the minimum support price (MSP) accrue to genuine farmers only.

Chief minister Yogi Adityanath, who also holds the portfolio of food and civil supply, is expected to give his nod to the proposed paddy procurement policy for the year 2018-19 very soon after which the department will start registration of paddy farmers from July 25.

“This time, we will verify the acreage of paddy sowing that farmers claim during their registration with the government’s procurement centres so that only genuine paddy growers sell their produce and not the middlemen,” commissioner, food and civil supply, Alok Kumar said.

Explaining the proposed procedure, he said information on land size and paddy sowing acreage to be provided by a farmer during registration would be linked to the revenue department’s Bhulekh app that would instantly generate all the land records of that farmer.

“This will help us know if the farmer has actually planted paddy on as much area as claimed by him,” he said.

People familiar with the matter in the food department said middlemen often purchase paddy supplies either directly from farmers or small traders and, then using false acreage of any other farmer, they sell the same to the government’s procurement centres at a higher minimum support price.

“Many middlemen also purchase paddy for rice mills and big traders at a lower price from farmers,” they said.

Such malpractices, they said, deprived the farmers of the benefit of MSP and also put more financial burden on the government that had to pay MSP to fake sellers.

The possibility of middlemen playing even an more active role this time was said to have increased in view of the Central government having made a record increase in paddy MSP by Rs 200, fixing it at Rs 1750 per quintal for the year 2018-19.

Sources said most of the around 48 lakh MT paddy was purchased by the government procurement centres towards the end of the procurement season, something that happened last year also. “This kind of sale is suspected to be by the middlemen, and not farmers,” they said.

First Published: Jul 23, 2018 12:23 IST