MADHUBANI: The welfare measures undertaken both by the both Union and the state governments seems to be mere lip service. While the procurement price of wheat during the current fiscal was fixed at Rs 1,735 per quintal, farmers of the state in general and that of Madhubani district in particular, are forced to sell their surplus produce at throwaway price of Rs 1200 to 1300 per quintal to middlemen.
Majority of the farmers who were in possession of small quantum of wheat sold their produce at much lower prices to local businessmen or middlemen as they neither have the means to store it nor are they were sure as to when the state government agencies like PACS ( Primary Agricultural Cooperative Societies) and Vyapar Mandals will begin the process.
Farmers with substantial quantum of wheat in the district, even after fulfilling the requirement of online registration, are waiting for the government to initiate the purchase process. Incidentally, the Rabi season is also over.
A farmer Devendra Chaudhary of Koilakh village under Rajnagar block of the district alleged that the delay in purchase of wheat is the handiwork of politician-bureaucrat-middlemen nexus at the state-level. “It is being done deliberately to force farmers for distress sale and then facilitate supply of that wheat by middlemen to PACS and Vyapar Mandals,” he alleged.
According to informed sources, there is another angle to the delay in government procurement of wheat in the state. While the state government does not provide any bonus to farmers on paddy and wheat purchases, the neighbouring state of UP and reportedly also MP has announced substantial bonus on wheat purchase. As a result, big grain merchants in connivance with powers that be in the state collect wheat at lesser prices here only to sell in other states where the profit margin is high.