By admin       2017-10-11

Demanding that the Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) should start purchasing cotton from the growers, members of farmer outfit BKU (Sidhupur) on Tuesday held a protest outside the Union government-run agency's office at Bathinda. They alleged that the government was not providing any support to the cotton growers by making purchases and they were forced to sell their produce at rates even below the minimum support price (MSP). Rates of raw cotton are in the range of Rs 4,350 to 4,450 per quintal. However, farmers alleged that they were forced to sell cotton raw at much lower rates in the range of Rs 3,800-3,900 per quintal after being told their produced had higher moisture than the permissible limit of 12%. They said the CCI should enter the markets to stop the exploitation of cotton growers. MSP for long staple (27.5 to 28.5 mm) is Rs 4,220 per quintal. CCI procures raw cotton at MSP to stabilize the market and aid farmers. Till October 9, arrivals of raw cotton in Punjab were recorded at 1.28 lakh bales (1 bale=170 kg). Cotton was sown over 3.82 lakh hectares in the state. The total output from Punjab is expected to be around 12.5 lakh bales. BKU (Sidhupur) president Jagjit Singh Dallewal said that traders and commission agent try to dupe cotton growers by rejecting their crop and offering lower rates. "If CCI enters the market, the exploitation of farmers can be stopped as the crop will be purchased at the MSP. We want CCI to enter the markets at the earliest. We also want that it should make purchases directly from the farmers by eliminating the middlemen." CCI's Bathinda branch deputy manager Neeraj Kumar said, "Prevailing market rates in Punjab are higher than the MSP so CCI cannot make purchases." Another official also pointed out that CCI procured cotton through the online portal of e-NAM and Punjab had not registered for that. He said, "CCI has sought permission from the higher authorities to make purchases in Punjab without e-NAM."

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