Other States

Harsimrat Kaur flags Cotton Corporation’s ceiling on procurement

Shiromani Akali Dal leader Harsimrat Kaur Badal. File   | Photo Credit: AKHILESH KUMAR

Former Union minister and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader Harsimrat Kaur Badal on Sunday said the apprehensions of farmers were already coming true in Punjab with the Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) placing daily ceilings on the procurement of cotton and effecting a four-times reduction in its purchase.

Urging Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take note of the CCI’s actions, Ms. Badal said in a statement issued on Sunday, “Even though you have given repeated statements about the continuance of minimum support price (MSP), your inability to specify anything regarding assured government purchase at MSP is already having an adverse effect on government departments. It is unfortunate that the CCI is not ready to procure limit as per even last year’s schedule and is throwing cotton farmers to the mercy of private players by announcing a daily purchase ceiling of 12,500 quintals against a daily arrival of 50,000 quintals of cotton in Mandis across seven districts in Punjab.”

“A clear cut directive needs to be issued by you [the PM] guaranteeing government procurement of all agricultural products listed under the MSP system. This is the need of the hour as even a government department like CCI, which has a mandate to procure cotton on MSP, is abdicating its responsibility. If CCI can do this, what can farmers expect from private players?” the statement asked.

She urged the Prime Minister to bring in simultaneous legislation, making it mandatory for private players to procure farm produce at rates not less than the MSP.

Ms. Badal said that even though cotton arrivals had peaked in Malwa region, the CCI had announced that it would stagger purchase by restricting buying to only 12,500 quintals per day across 22 purchase centres. She said this would not only result in overcrowding at mandis with farmers vying with each other to get their produce procured first, but would also result in corrupt practices besides distress sale of cotton to private players.

“As per the present schedule fixed by CCI, the purchase season would extend till September next year. Small farmers can neither store their produce nor wait it out for so long. They will be forced to sell cheap to private players,” she said.

Ms. Badal said the situation was already precarious at the major mandis of Bathinda, Abohar, Mansa and Maur. The Prime Minister should intervene and direct the CCI to take back its arbitrary orders immediately, her statement said, and purchase the entire cotton arriving in mandis’ across the State.

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2022 2:46:17 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/harsimrat-kaur-flags-cotton-corporations-ceiling-on-procurement/article33431071.ece

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