Prime Minister Modi introduced a novel measure to eliminate all hurdles, middlemen and traders menace, to help farmers gain maximum profit. But even after that traders and middlemen are getting ‘priority’ in the Direct Purchase Centre (DPC) activities in delta region, say farmers.
Along with fighting this menace, farmers, who have stocked the paddy in open field and waiting for their turn to supply to DPCs, face another problem — their stocks getting sprouted due to recent rains. Tamil Nadu Civil Supplies Corporation (TNCSC), a nominated agency to procure paddy on behalf of Food Corporation of India (FCI), have opened as many as 2113 DPCs have across the state, but still they failed to ensure hassle free procurement.
Since the bumper harvest in Kuruvai, the procurement has gone steep high and 28.10 lakh MT paddy has so far been procured in the DPCs across the state, which is almost double the quantity than the previous year.
However, more than 75 per cent of DPCs have been functioning in open areas in the region and so the farmers are forced to stock their paddy along the roads creating inconvenience as they have to wait for a long time for their turn, which results in the severe damage to the stocked paddy.
Though the state government had instructed each DPC to procure at least 1000 bags per day, due to various reasons including alleged ‘bribe’ collected by the employees, the farmers are left in lurch. Many of the centres are also procuring less than 800 bags a day. These factors have forced the farmers to pile up the paddy and wait for their turn for several days leading the decay.
The farmers charged that the DPC staff reportedly give priority to the traders, whose stocks are cleared within 24 hours, where as they wait for more than 30 days. The delay has led to stocking of paddy in open areas in front of DPCs and the recent rains had played spoilsport resulting in in several bags of paddy seen sprouting.
For instance, more than 8000 bags of paddy have been piled up in front of the DPC at Needur village in Mayiladuthurai district. Similarly, in Thanjavur and Tiruvarur districts bags between 1500 and 2000 are stocked in front of each DPC. “We have been raising this issue before the DPC staff regularly as our paddy has been piled up for more than 30 days but the staff are reluctant to speak to us,” said Natarajan, a farmer from Mayiladuthurai. He said that there is a nexus between the DPC officials and the traders who are least bothered about the farmers.
Meanwhile, the officials still stick to the 17 per cent moisture condition which results in further loss to the farmers. According to a senior official from TNCSC, each DPC used to receive between 7000 and 8000 bags per day during normal times. However, this time, the farmers got bumper harvest and they had around 10,000 to 12,000 bags to offer per day and this resulted in transportation issues.
“Since we receive more loads of paddy than expected and the delay in transportation, the paddy gets accumulated in the DPC itself and it is experienced across the state. But we are keeping an eye on the operations of DPCs,” the official said and assured to solve the issue.