A farmer Ramesh Kumar from Bihar said he is forced to sell his paddy for Rs 1100 per quintal even though the government has set MSP for paddy Rs 1,868 per quintal. He was forced to sell his products to middlemen or agents even though they offer a price below the MSP because the government purchase is very low and when it comes to purchases then there is no check on state agencies.
He said that even though the paddy harvesting is about to end, the process of government procurement which they do through Panchayat level committees has not even started. Even if the government buys their products, the farmers then have to wait for three to four months for payment which also pushes them to middlemen for selling their products.
There is also an inter-state paddy racket going on which the Punjab Police is claiming to have busted. KAP Sinha, Punjab government’s principal secretary for food, civil supplies and consumer affairs told The Wire that in the last few days, Police registered 69 FIRs under the Section 120-B (criminal conspiracy) and 420 (cheating) of the India Penal Code for cases related to the coming in of paddy to Punjab from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.
Drivers of the trucks told the Police that they bought paddy from the farmers of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar as low as Rs 800 and they were trying to influx this paddy into Punjab. Their plan was to sell that paddy in Punjab at full MSP because of the advantage of a strong government procurement system in Punjab.
128 trucks and 11 trolleys have been confiscated as of now. All the police superintendents have been ordered to increase border vigil. Also the department has asked for a report in four districts where they have seen an unprecedented amount of paddy arriving. The government is physically verifying the fields of farmers to see if their fields are capable of producing the quantity which they are trying to sell. The government data states that the state of Punjab contributes 30 % to the total amount of rice procured by the central government.