CHENNAI: In the wake of complaints from farmers from different districts alleging corruption in direct paddy procurement centres, Minister for Agriculture MRK Panneerselvam on Wednesday said that teams would be formed to study the allegations and weed out illegal practices, if any, at these facilities.
“The monitoring teams at district union levels will be formed and they will have Tahsildars, VAOs, officials from the Agriculture Department, representatives from local bodies and farmer unions as members. Also, Rs 10 per bag will be provided additionally to the labourers, who transport paddy bags and by these steps will make all works in paddy procurement a smooth affair,” the Minister, told reporters.
Panneerselvam and Food Minister R Sakkarapani heard the grievances of farmers at the third grievance meeting held at Chennai on Wednesday.
In the meeting, farmers alleged that officials at direct paddy procurement centres demanded ‘commission’ for every bag of paddy. P Ayyakannu, state president of Desiya Thenindhiya Nadhigal Inaippu Vivasayigal Sangam, said that they had demanded the arrest of officers demanding bribe from farmers and the Ministers have agreed to take action. He also said that farmers have confidence in the government as no such government in the entire country has so far conducted grievance meetings with farmers.
Rice in packets soon at PDS
Sakkarapani, addressing reporters, said that steps were being taken by the government to save paddy kept in open spaces at the warehouses from rains.
“The state government has allotted Rs 240 crore to construct 3 lakh semi-godowns and the works are under way. In another one month, the works will be completed and the warehouses for paddy will be ready before the start of northeast monsoon,” said the Minister.
He also said that the state government will commence the construction of 15 rice mills under public-private partnership. Among the 15 rice mills, 10 will have a capacity of 500 metric tonnes, 2 will have 800 metric tonnes and three will have 200 metric tonnes capacity. The work is expected to be completed in another 18 months and after that rice will be sold in packets in PDS shops across the state.