Centre relaxes paddy procurement norms for Tamil Nadu but farmers unhappy over ‘no compensation’ clause

By Antony Fernando

Heeding to the state government’s request, the Union government on Thursday announced a relaxation in moisture content, maturity requirement and damage limit norms for paddy procurement at DPCs.

Farmers, however, expressed disappointment over the Centre informing the state government that no compensation would be awarded for losses incurred after procurement and that the responsibility to bear it lay fully with the state.

Farmers also flagged the union government announcement that the procured rice should be consumed within the state and that no stocks should be handed over to the Food Corporation of India. As per the announcement by the department of food and public distribution under the Ministry of Consumer Affairs,

Food and Public Distribution, moisture content norm for paddy procurement has been relaxed to 20% from 17%, maturity requirement (immature, shrunken and shrivelled) has been relaxed to 5% from 3% and the damage limit (damaged, discoloured, sprouted and weeviled) has been relaxed to 7% from 5%. P R Pandiyan, the general secretary of the Thamizhaga Kaviri Vivasaayigal Sangam, said,

“The announcement took a little longer than expected; many of the farmers have had already sold a significant quantity of paddy to private entities. A seasonal procurement policy should be determined for the state since it has been affected by unseasonal rains over the years.” ‘Cauvery’ V Dhanabalan, the leader of the Kaviri Vivasaayigal Paathukaapu Sangam, said,

“The state is dependent on the union government in terms of production, processing and the consumption of rice. Produce have been exchanged during instances of surplus or dearth in productivity. The union government should come forward and release crop relief.” M Prakash, another farmer-representative, said, “Compensating for the losses without the support of the union government would cost a lot for the state government, leading to even fund crunch to assist farmers.”

When contacted, Dr J Radhakrishnan, the principal secretary for the Cooperation, Food and Consumer Protection department, said, “Value cuts on the MSP of paddy in relation to the percentage of relaxation occurred before too. Despite calamities, TNCSC has been procuring substantial quantity of paddy.”

This article has been republished from The New Indian Express.