“CM KCR said sannalu (fine variety paddy) commands good rate, but now we are forced to sell at ₹1400 and even less per quintal. MSP for grade A variety is ₹1,888. Why can’t the government procure at the price it advocated?” asks an aggrieved farmer, among several others, who were stopped by the police from entering Miryalaguda on Sunday.
Another farmer, among the protesting group on Chillepalli-Musi bridge, requests police to allow farmers to market yards in Miryalaguda instead of rice mills, so that the produce that would get damaged soon could be sold at least at ₹1000 per quintal.
Miryalaguda, the centre for rice industries, has been witnessing inflow of fine variety paddy like never before. Since the start of procurement by rice mills last week, already thousands of vehicles have been cleared and several hundred are in queue, following a token system.
According to farmers, it took about four days to reach the selling point – the day of arrival, two days to get the token and another day or two till the tractors are unloaded and considered. As a result, the grain shows discoloration and develops other signs of damage, and the low rate per quintal.
In the wake of the record paddy inflows, storage silos at all the rice mills in Miryalaguda were filled to the maximum. And farmers were advised to harvest their produce only on the day of bringing the load to the mill, to avoid grain blackening and damage.
“There are already hundreds of vehicles in queues, and it would take about four days to clear the pendency and arrange storage. Farmers should note procurement will commence on Wednesday, it is a bandh till Tuesday,” Karnati Ramesh, president of Nalgonda District Rice Miller’s Association – Miryalaguda (NDRMA-M), had earlier issued a statement.
And hence, police camps on the several routes to Miryalaguda to bar the entry of farmers, leading to protests and criticism of the government for regulated farming system, particularly fine paddy variety.
In view of the situation, the district administration has been monitoring the situation closely, reviewing procurement status with rice millers and advising farmers on harvesting.
On Sunday, Energy Minister G. Jagadish Reddy met officials and leaders from Nalgonda and Suryapet, to discuss and issue guidelines on the procurement.
He said the major problem at Miryalaguda was paddy inflow beyond the capacity of the rice mills.
“On a single day about 4, 500 tractors had reached Miryalaguda, while the actual capacity is 1, 500 tractors per day. As discussed, farmers will be issued tokens at market yards, only after which they should harvest their produce and bring it to rice mills,” he said, addressing media persons.
Mr. Reddy advised farmers not to hurry, but to ensure quality of the paddy as millers were ready to offer more rate per quintal, and soon fine variety paddy would fetch better rates in the market, he said.
Stressing on MSP for farmers, he said stringent action will be initiated if centres buy paddy at less than the prescribed rate. He also instructed officials to regulate harvesting and bring about awareness among farmers.