Ambaji Thakare from Wardha sold 12 quintal tur at National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India’s or NAFED's tur procurement centre in his district 20 days back, but has not received the remuneration of Rs 70,000. As the month of May passes, Ambaji is in urgent need of money for the upcoming Kharif season to be able to buy seeds and other essential items for Kharif.
"This year, we have received good rates for tur. But payments are getting delayed. If we could get money right now, then preparation for Kharif will be smooth. Because of the lockdown, we will need more time to buy the material at the tehsil place, arrange tempo to bring it back to our village, etc.," said Ambaji.
With abundant production of tur this year in the state, NAFED and Food Corporation of India are expected to procure 10 lakh quintals of the lentil. So far, 8,13,000 quintal tur has been procured by NAFED. With Rs 5,800 per quintal MSP, the total cost of procurement comes to Rs 471.96 crore. Out of this, as per various farmers’ organisations and observers, Rs 175 crore are pending.
The marketing federation of the state, which procures grains and pulses for NAFED, is running 157 centres. Also, FCI is procuring tur at 41 centres in five districts.
"The state and central government will have to speak to each other urgently and start the procedure of clearing the dues of the farmers. As per our primary estimate, almost 40-45% farmers haven't received their bills. This money is very much needed to start the work for the Kharif season. Now, there is a load on the rural areas as a large number of labourers have returned to their villages. In such a condition, giving farmers their rightful money is important," said Dr Ajit Navale, Maharashtra General Secretary of All India Kisan Sabha.
Ravikant Tupkar, state chief of the Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana, has asked the state government to act immediately. “The delay in payment is increasing farmers’ stress. Lockdown has hurt them on a number of fronts and they need this money. Government should clear the bill by May 25," he said.
State's marketing minister, Balasaheb Patil, has acknowledged the delay. "We accept that there is a delay. There are a number of reasons for the delay. But now, an order has been issued to clear the bills. We are also in touch with NAFED and FCI. By next week, the bills regarding procured tur will be cleared," said Patil.