A delegation of ministers from Punjab met union meals minister Piyush Goyal, who turned down their demand saying that the centre pays directly to farmers and never through arhtiyas.
“We have no option now. But we will find some mechanism to protect the interest of arhtiyas as they are integral part of procurement exercise,” stated Punjab’s meals and civil provides minister Bharat Bhushan Ashu after the assembly with Piyush Goyal.
He stated that the chief minister Amarinder Singh is anxious concerning the challenge and had known as a gathering with arhtiyas on Friday to focus on choices.
The centre, nevertheless has agreed to give Punjab an extension of six months for linking land report to the nationwide e-procurement portal.
The procurement of wheat is scheduled to begin from Saturday in Punjab, which is probably going to purchase 13 million tonnes of wheat from farmers for the central pool. Last 12 months, Punjab had contributed related amount of wheat.
Under the present system, farmers in Punjab unload their produce at a market yard licensed to an agent (arhtiya) by the native mandi committee. The arhtiya will get the grain cleaned, organises auctions, packs the produce into 50-kg baggage and dispatches them to the patrons. The arhtiya then receives money on behalf of the farmer, who will get money from the arhtiya after deduction of fee in opposition to the providers.
“In Punjab, arhtiyas are a big force. There are 50,000 registered arhtiyas in Punjab who are actively involved in the procurement of 13 million tonnes of wheat and 12 million tonnes of rice every year. Since they (arhtiyas) lend money to farmers, they have good control over them (farmers),” stated a Punjab authorities official.
The procurement of wheat is scheduled to begin from Saturday throughout 3,972 grain markets through 156 market committees.
Vijay Kalra, president of the Federation of Arhtiyas Association of Punjab, stated the state authorities can’t play with the livelihood of the brokers. “If the government does that, we will hit the streets and stage dharnas (sit-ins). It’s a question of livelihood for lakhs of people engaged in this trade – be it the farmers, arhtiyas or labourers. We will strongly oppose this,” he stated.
Kalra stated the federal government tried to abolish this age-old system again in 2009, too. “Then also, the farmers themselves came forward and said that they can’t survive without arhtiyas. The government had to roll back the move,” he stated.