Claiming that more than five lakh farmers are yet to sell their paddy produce, the opposition Congress in Chhattisgarh has demanded extension of procurement drive in the state till March 1.
The procurement drive, which was started on November 1 last year, is to end on January 31.
"The drive should be extended till March 1 so that the target of purchase can be achieved and farmers can sell their produce," state Congress chief and MP Deepak Baij said in a statement in Raipur.
Baij claimed that over five lakh farmers are yet to sell their paddy.
Before the newly elected BJP government in December last year ordered procurement of 21 quintals of paddy per acre, a large number of farmers had already sold 20 quintals paddy per acre as fixed by the previous Congress government and they are yet to sell the additional one quintal paddy per acre, he said.
The erstwhile Congress government had set a target of purchasing 135 lakh metric tonnes of paddy in the kharif marketing season 2023-24. Now, after the decision to purchase 21 quintals per acre, the procurement target will also increase, Baij said, adding that at least 150 lakh metric tonnes should be procured from farmers.
Hence, the paddy procurement drive should be extended by a month, he said.
Alleging mismanagement at paddy procurement centres, Baij claimed that it has led to slowing down of the process of issuance of token to farmers (to purchase their paddy) and weighing of the produce.
Farmers are yet to get Rs 3,100 per quintal of paddy as promised by the BJP and the procurement is being done at the minimum support price (which is Rs 2,183 per quintal for common grade paddy and Rs 2,203 for grade A paddy), he claimed.
In the supplementary budget tabled by the BJP government in the winter session of the state assembly last month, no financial provision was made for paddy procurement, Baij pointed out, demanding that Rs 3,100 per quintal be provided to farmers on a priority basis.