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Govt announces paddy procurement to begin tomorrow amid violent protests

The Centre postponed the purchase of Kharif rice in Punjab and Haryana to October 11 due to crop maturity being delayed and moisture content in fresh arrival exceeding allowable limits due to recent heavy rainfall.

Govt announces paddy procurement to begin tomorrow amid violent protests gcw
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New Delhi, First Published Oct 2, 2021, 6:27 PM IST
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As thousands of enraged farmers demonstrated outside his home, leaping over barriers and confronting water canons, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar said that the state would begin paddy procurement on Sunday. "The Kharif procurement season has begun. Paddy procurement was supposed to begin on October 1, but it was pushed up to October 11 owing to monsoon delays. I met with the minister, and we agreed that procurement will begin tomorrow," he said after meeting with Ashwini Choubey, the junior Union Minister for Food and Consumer Affairs, in Delhi.

Farmers in Punjab and Haryana protested the postponement of paddy procurement on Saturday in several locations. The Samyukt Kisan Morcha called for rallies outside legislators' homes in both states on Friday to express their displeasure with the delay in acquiring rice crops. The Centre postponed the purchase of Kharif rice in Punjab and Haryana to October 11 due to crop maturity being delayed and moisture content in fresh arrival exceeding allowable limits due to recent heavy rainfall. The purchase is carried out by the central government's nodal agency Food Corporation of India (FCI) in collaboration with state agencies.

Also Read | Farmers’ protest turns violent outside Haryana CM's house, police use water cannons to disperse protesters

Typically, paddy procurement begins on October 1. Arvind Kejriwal, the Chief Minister of Delhi, has also urged the Centre to begin purchasing paddy grain. According to Kejriwal, the farmers of Punjab are angry since the federal government has delayed the purchase of paddy for ten days, and farmers are standing outside mandis with lakhs of quintals of grain on their tractors in a tweet. Farmers protested outside the homes of numerous Congress lawmakers in Punjab, including Punjab Vidhan Sabha Speaker Rana K P Singh in Rupnagar and MLA Harjot Kamal in Moga, about the delay in the procurement of paddy harvest.

According to authorities, a large number of police officers have been deployed to ensure peace and order. Farmers expressed concern that if their crop is not acquired in grain markets, they will suffer. Farmers report that paddy harvest, albeit in modest quantities, has begun to arrive in mandis, particularly in border areas of Punjab. They wondered where the farmers who had brought their crops to the mandis would go if their products were not purchased.

Also Read | ‘You have strangulated entire city’: SC on farmers’ plea to protest at Jantar Mantar

Some are concerned that they may be compelled to sell their produce at a price lower than the minimum support price (MSP) to private dealers. According to a farmer in Haryana's Karnal, his paddy crop would be harmed by October 11, when the Centre begins purchasing it. Farmers in certain areas even handed over a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioners requesting that paddy purchases start immediately. 

In Haryana's Ambala, police erected barricades to prevent farmers from storming the home of BJP legislator Aseem Goel. A fire truck and a water cannon vehicle were also stationed outside the MLA's home. A tight security setup has been put in place outside Minister Vij's house in Ambala Cantonment, stated off.

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