Punjab and Haryana governments announced that the procurement of paddy – a major Kharif crop – will begin from October 3, after the Centre acceded to their request. The Centre’s earlier decision to put off procurement till October 11 due to recent heavy rains had sparked protests by farmers in the two states.
“I am happy that the Union Consumer Affairs Minister Ashwini Kumar Choubey has accepted our request, and procurement will start in Haryana from October 3,” Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, who was flanked by his deputy Dushyant Chautala and state Agriculture Minister J P Dalal said, said after meeting the central minister in Delhi.
Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi, who had taken up the issue during his meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday, said that farmers would be satisfied with the decision as it will ensure smooth and hassle-free procurement.
The procurement of Kharif crops – Paddy and Millet- was earlier to start from October 1, but due to heavy rains, the central government had postponed the procurement till October 11 as the moisture content in fresh arrivals was beyond permissible limits.
The decision has irked farmers and many of them protested on Saturday in several parts of the two states, laying siege to the houses of many ministers, MPs and MLAs. Farmers broke police barricades and faced water cannons, including near Chief Minister Khattar’s house in Karnal.
In Punjab, farmers protested outside the residences of several Congress legislators, including state assembly Speaker Rana K P Singh in Rupnagar and MLA Harjot Kamal in Moga.
The Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM), an umbrella body of farmer unions that is spearheading the agitation against the three central agri laws, had on Friday had given a call for holding protests outside the residences of legislators in Punjab and Haryana.
Khattar said that protests have been held at many places by farmers demanding an early start of procurement and the Haryana Government also believes that the procurement should start on time. Punjab and Haryana are the most affected by the stir against the farm laws that started in November last year.