Nizamabad/Kamareddy: Taking advantage of Covid-19 pandemic, big traders and middlemen are looting farmers in paddy procurement in connivance with a few primary agriculture cooperative societies (PACS), rice millers and transport operators.
Impact of the second wave of Covid-19 and unseasonal rains created troubles to farmers in selling their produce. Paddy bags were piled up either at primary agricultural societies or on rice mills premises as no authorities came forward to complete the procurement process. Allegedly, a few revenue and civil supplies officials ignored the plight of farmers and supported errant transport operators, rice millers and societies chairmen.
To ensure minimum support price (MSP) to paddy, the state government has set up 432 paddy purchasing centres (PPC) in Nizamabad district and 33 centres in Kamareddy district. Of the total 432 PPCs in Nizamabad, officials allotted 375 centres to PACS and restricted 43 PPCs run by women self-help groups.
Usually, women groups smoothly conduct the procurement at village level and it also benefits them for income generation. A few PACS leaders neglected paddy procurement due to political reasons. They also allegedly indulged in irregularities.
Meantime, shortage of labourers and lorries are also adversely affecting the paddy procurement process in both the districts. Reportedly, a few transport operators demand extra money to shift paddy from villages to rice mills. Lack of coordination between officials and rice millers also worsened the situation. Farmers are urging the state government to rescue them from clutches of PACS and rice millers.
Speaking to this newspaper, Nizamabad additional collector Chandrasekhar said they were keenly monitoring paddy procurement in the district. “We slapped a penalty on transport contractors and warned rice millers for scheduled procurement of paddy,” he said. Of 110 rice mills, 70 mills opted for boiled rice and 40 mills for raw rice, he added. “There are regular complaints of under-weighment, soaked paddy, loading/unloading and others, but we are trying to resolve them,” he said.
Kamareddy district rural development officer Venkata Madhava Rao said paddy procurement was continuing smoothly in the district. He said that no complaint was received against anyone including primary agriculture cooperative societies. “We will initiate action against primary agriculture cooperative societies, if we receive any specific complaint,” he said.
Meanwhile, Kamareddy district collector A Sharath conducted a review meeting on paddy procurement at Banswada on Tuesday and directed officials to complete the process smoothly. He said rice millers should take paddy as per their milling capacity and deviations would be treated seriously.