At least 22 agricultural unions in Punjab on Thursday launched an agitation against the state government over the new procurement policies in Mandis for the purchase of moong and maize crops.
Agricultural unions, which staged protests in 70 locations in 23 districts of Punjab, claimed the government was demanding that copies of farad (land records) be submitted to the procurement agency before moong crops are purchased. and corn. They also said that the government had set a supply quota of 5 quintals per acre for supply, while they wanted every grain grown to be purchased. The farmers at Thursday’s protest also demanded smooth purchase of the two crops on MSP and submitted memoranda to their respective sub-divisional magistrates, which were addressed to the Chief Minister of Punjab.
“Contrary to Punjab government claims, moong and maize crops are being sold at below MSP prices by farmers after undue restrictions were imposed by the state. The CM must visit the mandis to see the conditions himself. He did not visit the mandis once to witness the purchase of moong and maize in the mandis,” BKU-Dakaunda’s Kanwaljeet Khanna said during a pottest in Jagraon. He added that Jagraon was considered the largest mandi in Punjab in terms of arrival of the moong crop, whose MSP had been set at Rs 7,225 per quintal.
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Khanna said: “The government only purchases a limited stock of moong at the promised rate of Rs 7225 per quintal, that too if the crop passes all the tests set by the procurement agency. In mandis, private players buy moong at the rate of Rs 5,500 to Rs 6,500 per quintal, which is lower than the MSP. If they import moong from other countries, do they check the land records where it was grown? They ask us to get land mapping from patwari and submit a copy of our land records. At the time of the MSP announcement on moong, the state government had not mentioned that the purchase of the crop would be five quintals per acre.
Gurmeet Singh Mehma, a trade union leader from Ferozepur, said, “Small-scale farmers cannot keep their stocks once they have delivered them to the mandis. Thus, they end up being exploited by private actors. Moreover, when and if Markfed rejects a farmer’s stock, it has no choice but to sell it through private players.