Tribune News Service
Muktsar, October 17
With paddy fetching poor rates in Uttar Pradesh, local traders and rice millers are purchasing the crop from that state to make quick money, in the process causing loss to Punjab and its farmers.
The authorities have done nothing to stop this practice. Farmers in Muktsar, Faridkot and Patiala claim to have intercepted 15 trucks carrying paddy from UP in the past few days.
Nirmal Singh, secretary, Bharti Kisan Union (Sidhupur), Muktsar district, said, “A number of traders are buying paddy from other states. However, this is illegal as paddy grown in Punjab alone can be sold at the local mandis. Also, the buyer has to pay a fee to the market committee on every purchase. This is a clearly a case of tax evasion.”
He pointed out that there was a huge gap between the MSP in Punjab (Rs 1,888/ quintal) and that in states like UP, Bihar and Rajasthan. “Farmers in these states are selling their crop to Punjab traders at Rs 900-1,000 per quintal. After paying the freight charges (Rs 150-160/ quintal), it costs the traders Rs 1,150 per quintal. This means they make a profit of nearly Rs 700/quintal.”
Nirmal Singh stressed that this “bogus sale” must be stopped as it could hurt the Punjab farmers, who would be unable to sell the entire produce because of the glut. Rice mill owner Ram Pal too wanted a check on the practice. He claimed the paddy from other states was of poor quality with a high moisture content.
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