The demand was put forth after a case related to the issues at DPCs reached the Madurai bench of the Madras High Court.
According to K Raja, Ranipet district president of Tamil Nadu Farmers’ Association, corruption at the purchase centres exist because the government opens DPCs only for a limited period. “So fearing that their produce might not be accepted, farmers are forced to pay workers,” he said.
Sources said the government pays workers Rs 2 for stitching each paddy bag and Rs 31.02 per tonne for loading the stitched bags onto trucks for stocking at TN Civil Supplies Corporation godowns. However, farmers lamented that they are forced to shell out Rs 80 per bag.
“The farmers do not have enough space to store paddy after harvest. So private traders buy it at very low prices as they know that farmers cannot refuse due to lack of storage space. The traders cite high moisture content to lower prices as much as possible, and then ask the district administration to set up the DPC at a specific location citing paddy availability. As they also ensure lighting in open spaces, officials extend preferential treatment to them. They also give higher amounts to workmen for paddy loading, forcing farmers to follow suit. A permanent DPC – one for a cluster of villages – will solve the problem. Then the farmers can bring their produce whenever they want, and thus end such fleecing.”
R Subash, president of the Tamilaga Vivasayigal Sangam’s youth wing, said the grama sabha of the Siruvalayam village panchayat in Kaveripakkam PU had adopted a resolution a couple of years ago requesting a permanent DPC. They also pointed out the availability of land. However, there has been no progress, with the paper on the proposal gathering dust at Nemili taluk office,” he said.
“Permanent DPCs will be practical as Ranipet district has round-the-year crops,” added Kumaresan from Palleri village.