KARIMNAGAR: Even after several appeals from the farming community, leaders of Opposition parties and peoples’ organisations for purchase of paddy from the farmers unconditionally, rice millers and procurement centres continue to fleece farmers in Karimnagar district.
To procure around 4.34 lakh metric tonnes of food grains, 351 centres have been set up across the district. Farmers have been asked to bring in their produce based on the tokens allotted to them after appropriately drying the harvest and ensuring that the moisture content was less than 17 per cent.
The state government fixed a minimum support price of Rs 1,888 for A-grade variety and Rs 1,868 for B-grade variety. With an increase in production during this Rabi season, huge quantities are brought to the respective procurement centres.
With inadequate labour force, shortage of paddy cleaners, gunny bags, tarpaulin covers and tents for protection from heavy sunlight and poor drinking water facilities, farmers are facing a lot of problems at procurement centres.
To add to the problem, officials are reducing weight of the produce by two kgs while rice millers are deducting around two to four kgs in the name of wastage for every 40 kgs bag of food grains.
K. Anjaiah, a farmer from Thimmapur village, pointed out that they faced hardship during paddy cultivation so that they could get good returns, but officials at procurement centres and rice millers were dashing their hopes in the name of wastage. Nor did they arrange any facilities at procurement centres, he said. Moreover, they are delaying the purchasing process and also in depositing the amount into their accounts, Anjaiah said.
Meanwhile, vexed with the apathy, some farmers staged dharna at various procurement centres across the district demanding the government to procure paddy without any restrictions and without deducting weight.
District president of Kisan Morcha, Annadi Raji Reddy, along with other BJP leaders visited the Thimmapur procurement centre and observed the process of procurement.
One farmer, Lakshma Reddy, informed them that he had brought 538 bags but around 34 of them were deducted by officials towards ‘wastage’.
Raji Reddy said that some farmers were cleaning their produce by hiring big fans to prevent wastage and deduction. But officials and rice millers had colluded, leaving the farmers helpless, he said. He wondered how rice millers could deduct when the produce was weighed and sent to them from procurement centres.
He demanded a helpline number at every purchasing centre for lodging complaints....