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Haryana

Posted at: Sep 14, 2017, 1:00 AM; last updated: Sep 14, 2017, 1:00 AM (IST)

Arhtiyas protest direct payment, e-trading

Arhtiyas protest direct payment, e-trading
Commission agents protest against the state government’s decision to introduce e-trading and direct payment to farmers in Karnal on Wednesday. Tribune photo: Sayeed Ahmed

Tribune News Service

Ambala/Panipat, September 13

Commission agents from different grain markets today suspended work and held protests against the state government’s decision to start e-procurement and make direct payment to farmers from the coming paddy procurement season.

In Ambala, the protesters took out a march and submitted a memorandum to Deputy Commissioner Sharandeep Kaur.

Duni Chand, president of the New Grain Market Commission Agents’ Association, Ambala City, said: “The state government has decided to start online trading and make direct payments to farmers. The decision is unacceptable, as it will badly impact the arhtiya system. The payment must be given to commission agents. The new system is neither beneficial to farmers nor commission agents.”

“We lend money to farmers, whenever they need it. If payments are directly transferred to their bank accounts, there is no guarantee that we will get our money back. Besides, there are many flaws in the e-trading system,” he added.

Kuldeep Sangwan, a commission agent, said farmers owe money to banks. If payments are directly transferred to their accounts, banks would deduct the loan amount and farmers would get nothing.

Duni Chand said: “We have given an ultimatum to the government to withdraw the decision by September 19. A state-level meeting will be organised in Karnal on September 23 in which 35,000 commission agents will take part. If our demands are not met, we will lock all grain markets across the state and will not purchase any crop”.

In Karnal, arhtiyas from various grain markets in the district suspended work and took out a march. They marched to the mini-secretariat and handed over a memorandum to Yogesh Kumar, SDM, for Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar demanding scrapping of e-tendering and direct payment to farmers.

They said the government should withdraw the decision by September 19 or they would stage a state-level rally in Karnal on September 23. Hundreds of arhtiyas , under the banner of the Haryana State Anajmandi Arhtiyas’ Association, suspended work in grain markets and assembled at Sector 12.

Rajneesh Choudhary, president of the Karnal District Grain Markets Arhtiyas Association, led the protest and said on at a meeting with commission agents of the state September 22 last year, the CM had assured them that direct payment to farmers and e-tendering would not be implemented.

“This step of the marketing board has forced us to take to agitation,” he said.

Sumit Choudhary, another commission agent, said in 2015, the state government had sought advice from farmers in Kurukshetra over the direct payment to farmers, but only 20 farmers came forward.

He said arhtiyas don’t need a GST number for in Punjab and it should be the same in Haryana also.

Rajinder Gupta, commission agent, demanded an increase in commission from 2.5 per cent to 3 per cent. He said former CM Bansi Lal had raised their commission from 2 to 2.5 per cent and since then, no government had raised it.

CM had promised not to implement e-trading

In Panipat, commission agents on a call given by the Haryana State Anaj Mandi Arthiya Association organised a protest.

The protesters submitted a memorandum to ADC Rajiv Mehta, addressed to the Chief Minister, demanding scrapping of e-trading and direct payment to farmers. Dharambir Malik, state vice-president of the Haryana State Anaj Mandi Arthiya Association and president of the Panipat Arthiya’s Association, said the Chief Minister had last year assured them that e-trading and direct payment to farmers would not be implemented.

He added despite Khattar’s assurance, the Haryana State Marketing Board has started the process. They also demanded increase in their commission from 2.5 per cent to 3 per cent.

Government may postpone decision by a year: Dhankar

Kurukshetra: Agriculture Minister OP Dhankar has said that the state government may consider postponing e-trading for a year. A delegation of commission agents met Dhankar here today and apprised him about the ill-preparedness of the digital mode of trade. Dhankar said he would take up the issue with Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar for the final decision. Earlier, Dhankar told mediapersons that e-trading and direct payment to farmers were needed as part of agricultural reforms in the state. The minister said the government would continue to move ahead on this. He, however, added the  government was open to deliberations with arhtiyas and farmers would also be part of such discussions.

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