GUWAHATI, March 18 � Alleging that a thriving racket of middlemen in the Food Corporation of India�s (FCI�s) paddy and jute procurement system was denying the farmers of the State their due remuneration, the BJP has demanded intervention of Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar in the matter.
A delegation of the BJP�s Kishan Morcha led by its national president Om Prakash Dhankad met Pawar recently and discussed wide-ranging issues concerning the farming community.
Shiladitya Dev, national general secretary of the Kishan Morcha, who was part of the delegation, told The Assam Tribune that Pawar was apprised of the plight of the farmers in Assam who were a languishing lot despite their heavy toil.
�We pointed out the flawed rice and jute procurement policy of the FCI through the State Government agencies which allows the flourishing racket of middlemen to procure the produce from the poor farmers at a very low rate and then sell it to the FCI at the minimum support price (MSP). They make a profit of Rs 450 per quintal while effectively depriving the farmers of the MSP,� Dev said.
Dev said that a farmer had to obtain the necessary authentication certificate by spending Rs 300 to Rs 500, which is then used by the middlemen for selling the produce to the FCI.
The BJP also raised the issue of total procurement of paddy in the State and then use it for various Central Government schemes instead of procuring it from outside the region, which would also save transportation cost.
�Last year there was bumper harvest of boro paddy but there was no market at all and the poor farmers had to sell their produce for cattle feed,� Dev said.