Farmers protest across Punjab, Haryana over delay in paddy procurement


CHANDIGARH: Farmers in Punjab and Haryana staged protests at several places on Saturday against the suspension of paddy procurement.

The United Kisan Morcha had on Friday called for protests outside the residences of legislators in both the states to register their protest over the delay in paddy crop procurement.

The Center on Thursday postponed the procurement of kharif paddy in Punjab and Haryana till October 11 as there is a delay in the maturity of the crop and the moisture content in the fresh arrivals is more than the permissible limits due to the recent heavy rains.

The procurement operations are carried out by the Food Corporation of India (FCI), the nodal agency of the central government, along with the state agencies. The procurement of paddy usually starts from October 1.

Meanwhile, Haryana Minister Anil Vij said on Saturday that farmers’ agitation against the new laws of the Center is intensifying. “Violent Day by Day”.

Vij said in a tweet, “Farmers’ agitation is becoming violent day by day. Violent agitation cannot be allowed in Mahatma Gandhi’s country.”

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal urged the Center to start procurement of the paddy crop.

Kejriwal tweeted, “The farmers of Punjab are upset, the central government has postponed the purchase of paddy for 10 days, the farmer is standing outside the mandis carrying lakhs of quintals of paddy on a tractor.

In Punjab, farmers gathered outside the residences of several Congress MLAs, including Punjab Assembly Speaker Rana KP Singh in Rupnagar and MLA Harjot Kamal in Moga, to protest against the delay in procurement of paddy crop.

Officials said a large number of police personnel have been deployed to maintain law and order.

The farmers expressed apprehension that they would suffer if their crops were not purchased in the grain markets. Farmers said that the paddy crop, though in lesser quantity, has started arriving in the mandis especially in the border areas of Punjab.

He questioned that if the farmers who have brought their crops to the mandis, where will they go if their produce is not bought. Some fear that they will be forced to sell their crops to private traders for less than the Minimum Support Price (MSP).

A farmer in Haryana’s Karnal said his paddy crop would be spoiled by October 11 when the Center would start its procurement. Somewhere the farmers also submitted a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioners demanding to start paddy procurement.

Police put up barricades to prevent farmers from laying siege to the residence of BJP MLA Aseem Goyal in Ambala, Haryana. A fire fighting vehicle and a water cannon vehicle were also deployed outside the MLA’s residence.

Officials said that tight security arrangements have been made outside the residence of Minister Vij in Ambala Cantonment.

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