Complaints of delay/non-procurement of paddy at direct purchase centres (DPCs) in delta districts has become all too frequent in recent days with farmers associations and political parties raising the issue vociferously in public fora.
Ironically, when the issue of harvested grains stacked in the open near DPCs sprouting in rain attracted the attention of the media during the middle of the last procurement season, Tamil Nadu Civil Supplies Corporation (TNCSC) circulated a set of instructions to its staff on avoiding loss of grains and ensuring smooth procurement process.
TNCSC directed the staff to increase the procurement quantum from 800 bags per day to 1,000 and asked them to issue tokens to farmers approaching the DPC to measure their produce. The objective was to prevent stocking of grains — brought directly from the field to the DPC — in the open.
The Corporation also insisted that its staff sensitise farmers on storing their produce ‘safely’ at their own places and bringing it to the DPC on the date fixed for measuring.
However, enquiries reveal that except for the increase in the number of bags procured at the DPCs not much attention has been paid to other instructions either by the staff or farmers and their representative associations.
Procurement-related issues have started rearing their head afresh this season with farmers alleging irregularity or inordinate delay in procurement of the summer crop or kuruvai paddy. While a section of farmers say they are unaware of the Corporation’s instructions with respect to procurement, the staff are reportedly under the impression that they pertained to the last season only.
They have attributed the delay in procurement process to ‘insufficient’ number of gunny bags and glitches in transfer of procured paddy from DPCs.
Sundara Vimalanathan, secretary, Thanjavur District Cauvery Farmers Protection Association, has urged officials to use the kuruvai season to try out new methods to ensure smooth and quick procurement of paddy through DPCs in delta districts because the quantum of harvest during kuruvai will be less compared to samba and thaladi season.