Arhtiyas withdraw strike over MSP,wheat purchase begins in Punjab

A few hours after going on a Statewide strike against the Centre’s direction to the State government to transfer the minimum support price of farmers’ crops directly to their bank accounts, ‘Arhtiyas’ in Punjab on Saturday withdrew their strike.

The Arhtiyas or commission agents withdrew their strike after Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh assured them that they would remain an integral part of the procurement system.

Earlier during the day, around 40,000 Arhtiyas across the State had gone on strike to protest against the direct benefit transfer (DBT) of the minimum support price (MSP) to farmers for their crops, bypassing them.

The decision to call off the strike was taken by Arhtiyas after their leader Vijay Kalra, under the banner of the Federation of Arhtiya Association of Punjab, held a meeting with Punjab Food Minister Bharat Bhushan Ashu in Ludhiana.

After the commission agents announced the rollback of the strike, wheat procurement kicked off in the State.

In Chandigarh, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh ordered various steps to ensure Arhtiyas continued involvement in the process.

The State Food Department has amended the procurement software so that the Arhtiyas continue to be involved in the process of release of payments to farmers, albeit in a modified manner with farmers getting their payments in their bank accounts within 48 hours, as mandated by the State government, an official statement said.

A senior Food Department official said the commission agents will come to know how much payment is being released to farmers who are linked to them.

Declaring his unequivocal commitment to safeguarding the interests of Punjab’s Arhtiyas, the State Chief Minister said that despite the government of India’s directives to exclude them from MSP payments, “the Arhtiyas shall always be associated with the procurement”.

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Printable version | May 18, 2021 7:55:43 AM |

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