02 August, 2021

Coming A Cropper

The paddy crisis in Punjab, as also elsewhere, was the result of an unholy trader-government nexus

Coming A Cropper
HOW genuine was the paddy crisis in Punjab? Or that, albeit on a lesser scale, in UP, Orissa and Haryana? Weeks after the Centre announced a Rs 350-crore compensation package for the affected farmers and put their agitation to rest, the skeletons of the crisis have begun to tumble out. What was being passed off as a particularly bad season financially for farmers is now showing all the symptoms of a well-hatched plan between the rice millers and officials of the government food agencies and politicians who made hay while the farmers in panic mode went in for distress sale.

The affected farmers, who sold their paddy for as low as Rs 250 per quintal to private traders against the government-set minimum support price (msp) of Rs 540, are levelling allegations of the procurement agencies being hand-in-glove with the traders' lobby, which traditionally has strong links with the bjp. That the traders—who are also farmers—will now be selling the same rice stocks to the agencies at msp rates has lent credence to the simmering resentment among small farmers.

If Punjab's...

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