Hyderabad: Farmers from Rajanna-Siricilla, Nizamabad, Jagtial, Kamareddy, Nagarkurnool, Wanaparthy, Warangal, Mahbubnagar and Nalgonda districts are in turmoil. Over the past few weeks, summer rains have been wreaking havoc and destroying paddy stock taken by them to market yards. Bemoaning that they have been left to fend for themselves, farmers said officials manning IKP (Indira Kranti Patham) centres set up for paddy procurement are not helping them, farmers say.
They also said that there just aren’t enough tarpaulin covers to protect paddy from rain, and that there are inexplicable delays in even handing over gunny bags in which farmers could pack their paddy and have then weighed before the actual sale.
Official estimates are not available on the amount of paddy that has been damaged in rains after the crop was brought to IKP centres this season.
As on Wednesday, according to the state government, a little more than 20 lakh tonnes has been procured as against the 56 lakh tonnes procurement target.
“It rained again today,” a farmer who had brought his five-tractor trailer loads of paddy a week ago to the IKP Centre at Nagarkurnool told Deccan Chronicle.
“My stock had become wet once earlier,” he said referring to the paddy he brought to sell. Asked if the market authorities did not supply tarpaulins, or gunny bags, the farmer, who requested his name to be withheld because he feared trouble from the officials if inquiries were made, said “only private buyers have tarpaulins. They will give only if we agree to sell paddy to them. The officials keep saying ‘wait, we will give the bags’, but never do.”
He said that private buyers are offering around Rs.1,700 to 1,800 per quintal against the minimum price of Rs.1,960 for Grade I and Rs.1,940 for grade two paddy. “They buy at low rates from us and sell to officials at the minimum support price,” the farmer told Deccan Chronicle.
Though civil supplies minister Gangula Kamalakar assured farmers that the government will buy rain-affected paddy - but only if they dry and bring it back - farmers this correspondent spoke to from some of the rain hit areas, said it was impossible to do this. “Where will I take the paddy from here,” a farmer from Wanaparthy said, echoing what the farmer from Nagarkurnool had said.
Farmers said that there were no drying machines despite assurances from the government and it was better to sell that stock at whatever price private buyers were willing to pay instead of going through the rain, dry, rain, dry cycle repeatedly.
Marketing department officials said that they have so far placed indents for 5,030 paddy cleaners, which can bring down moisture content in the grains to acceptable levels.
The officials were, however, not certain as to how many of these machines are actually on the ground.
“Whether it is the tarpaulins, gunny bags or machines, it is the district collectors who can take a call,” an official said....