Farmer unions launch statewide protest against new moong procurement policies

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At least 22 farm unions of Punjab on Thursday launched an agitation against the state government against the new procurement policies at mandis for the purchase of moong and maize crops.

The farm unions, who held protests in 70 places across 23 districts of Punjab, have claimed that the government was asking for copies of farad (land records) to be submitted with the procurement agency before purchase of the moong and maize crops. They have also said that the government had set a 5 quintals per acre procurement quota for procurement, while they wanted every grain cultivated to be purchased. The farmers,during Thursday’s protest, also demanded the smooth purchase of both crops on MSP and submitted memorandums to their respective sub-divisional magistrates, which were addressed to the Punjab Chief Minister.

“Against the claims of Punjab government, moong and maize crops are being sold at below MSP rates by farmers after undue restrictions were imposed by the state. The CM needs to visit the mandis to see the conditions himself. He hasn’t visited the mandis even once to witness the procurement of moong and maize in mandis,” said Kanwaljeet Khanna from BKU-Dakaunda while potesting in Jagraon. He added that Jagraon was believed to be the largest mandi in Punjab in terms of arrival of the moong crop, whose MSP had been set at Rs 7225 per quintal.

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Khanna said,”The government is purchasing only a limited stock of moong at the promised Rs 7225 per quintal rate, that too if the crop passes all tests set by the procurement agency. In mandis, private players are purchasing moong at the rate of Rs 5500 to Rs 6500 per quintal, which is below MSP. If they import moong from other countries, do they check land records on which it was grown? They are asking us to get mapping of land done from patwari and submit a copy of our land records. At the time of announcing MSP on moong, the state government had not mentioned that the purchase of teh crop will be five quintals per acre.”

Gurmeet Singh Mehma, a union leader from Ferozepur, said, “Small farmer can’t hold on to their stocks once they get it to the mandis. So, they end up being exploited by private players. Moreover, when and if Markfed rejects a farmers’s stock, they have no choice but to sell it through  private players.”





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