This is a major trouble for the farmers as the commission problem seems to be widespread and becoming contagious too. Though the government introduced the ECS (Electronic Credit System) with a view to nail the irregularities at the procurement centres, the commission torture by the staff at the procurement centres was really painful and forcing the farmers to carry adequate cash with them, the paddy growers rued.
Sources said that the bill amount was being credited into the accounts of farmers only after they part with the sum demanded as commission by the staff, farmers complained.
Usually, the annual procurement policy meeting used to be convened before the harvest period and the Agriculture Minister, Food Minister and top officials from various departments, including the civil supplies corporations across the state, would participate in it.
This would serve as a platform for farmers to air their grievances to the authorities directly. Issues such as payment, handling difficulties and other hurdles would be addressed in such meetings. However, no such meeting has been held so far this year, the farmers pointed out.
In the previous seasons, the meeting was held on January 10 in 2016, January 11 in 2015 and January 30 in 2014. “The procurement clerk use to demand Rs 30 per bag (of 40 kg) paddy and collect Rs 75 per quintal. Sometimes, they even alter the ‘chippam’ (unit of 40 kg) and adjust 2 kg per chippam. So when we calculate, Rs 1050 is collected for each tonne of paddy and the delta target is at least four lakh tonnes.
This is how the money of the farmer is looted,” lamented Swamimalai S Vimalnathan, Secretary, Cauvery Farmers Protection Association.