By admin       2018-10-09

Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) representatives on Monday visited Bathinda, Malout and Abohar markets to make purchases but were shunned by farmers, apparently because the corporation wished to carry out direct purchase and the farmers did not want to antagonise ‘arhtiyas’ (commission agents). The corporation’s Bathinda branch head, Brijesh Kasana, admitted the farmers were reluctant to sell their produce to them. “Rising cotton prices in the market could be one of the reasons,” he pointed out. He stressed they would purchase cotton with moisture content between 8-12 per cent and not beyond. However, Ashok Kapur, a former president of the North India Cotton Association, attributed the farmers’ reluctance to their long-time association with the arhtiyas. He said the corporation must initiate confidence-building measures and acquaint the farmers with the new system. Interestingly, the BKU (Ekta-Ugrahan) had staged a protest outside the CCI office here on Saturday, urging it to lift cotton. On the corporation’s claim that they were getting a lukewarm response in mandis, he called it “a mere ploy to dodge purchase”. Satish Bansal, a leading commission agent, said they had already taken up the matter with the Union Government, urging that the old practice, under which they were paid 2.5 per cent commission on every cotton purchase by the corporation, be restored. “We have been left out completely,” he rued. Sukhmandar Singh, a farmer from Jaisinghwala village, who sold cotton at Rs 5,240 per quintal in the Bathinda market on Monday, said: “We cannot think of moving away from the old system. We have a strong bond with the arhtiyas, who come to our aid whenever needed.” On the other hand, cotton growers in Fazilka complained that the corporation had yet to enter the local market. They said had to sell to private traders at Rs 5,050-5,270 per quintal against the MSP (minimum support price) of Rs 5,350 per quintal.

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