By admin       2018-10-26

Bathinda: Upset over being forced to sell cotton crop at prices lower than the minimum support price (MSP), farmers vent the ire by symbolically burning their produce near the Mansa district administrative complex on Thursday. They also held a protest and demanded that cotton should be purchased at the MSP, which for long staple (27.5-28.5mm) grown in Punjab is fixed at Rs 5,350 per quintal. Farmers are opting to sell their crop through arhtiyas (commission agents) and not going to the Cotton Corporation of India (CCI), which has announced to make only direct purchases without any middlemen. Under such circumstances, the CCI is failing to find sellers and arhtiyas were purchasing cotton at rates below MSP. Farmers Mangat Singh and Gurdial Singh, who had assembled at the Mansa district administrative complex to mark their protest, said they were are getting up to Rs 200 per quintal less than the MSP as the CCI was not making purchases through the arhtiyas. “We are not in a position to annoy the agents so we are selling the crop through them,” said Mangat. Another farmer Mohinder Singh said it won’t make much difference to CCI whether they sell their produce directly or through arhtiyas so the central agency should come forward and make purchases at MSP. Farmer outfit Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta Ugrahan) lent support to the cotton farmers during the protest in Mansa. Its district unit chief Ram Singh Bhainibagha said the Union and the state governments must come to the rescue of farmers and ensure that cotton was purchased at MSP so that they might not have to face loses. An official of the CCI said, “We are ready to make purchases at the MSP without middlemen but no one is coming to us to sell the crop. Let farmers come forward, purchases will be made at MSP.”

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