Thursday, March 25, 2010

Rice millers exploiting farmers: Lok Satta

The Lok Satta Party today charged the Government with having left rice producers to the mercy of rice millers. Rice millers have slowed down paddy procurement citing tardy levy collection by the Food Corporation of India and disruption to milling because of power holiday for two days in a week and power cuts on other days. As a result, farmers are forced to make distress sales in areas where millers are making purchases in small quantities.

Talking to the media, party spokespersons V. Laxman Balaji and P. Bhaskara Rao said farmers received only Rs.800 and less a quintal of fine paddy against the Rs.1030 minimum support price fixed by the Union Government.

The Lok Satta leaders pointed out that such a situation would not have arisen had the FCI ensured that its warehouses were cleared of produce which is not consumed in the State. In the alternative, the FCI should have resorted to open storage system in which it has experience and expertise.

The Lok Satta leaders underlined the need to decentralize procurement and storage operations on a large scale so that local requirements could be met from local storage points resulting in enormous savings in transportation costs.

The spokespersons pointed out that by directing the Civil Supplies Corporation to undertake procurement, the Government could ensure remunerative prices for agricultural produce. It should also work out a mechanism for advancing loans against produce stored even at farmers’ homes.

The Lok Satta welcomed the Government of India move to prevent criminals and anti-social elements from contesting in elections.

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