NEW DELHI: Throwing his weight behind the agitating farmers at Delhi borders, AAP minister Gopal Rai on Wednesday said the Food Corporation of India should set up counters at Mandis across national capital to procure wheat from farmers at Minimum Support Price (MSP).
Stating that MSP should be made a legal guarantee, the minister said farmers in areas like Narela, Bawana, Mundka, Najafgarh and Mehrauli are facing crisis as the Centre is not buying wheat at MSP even though the crop has been harvested.
Legal guarantee for MSP is one of the key issues on which thousands of farmers are protesting against the Centre at Delhi borders. The AAP government has already extended its support to the agitation. “The FCI has not set up a single counter for wheat procurement in Delhi. Yet it is making false claims of purchasing the crop on MSP rates from April 1. Despite the Delhi government writing letters thrice, the FCI has not opened any counter yet and the farmers are being forced to sell their wheat to other stockholders,” charged Rai.
The Delhi government has already sought the Centre’s intervention so that FCI would start purchasing the wheat crop at Najafgarh and Narela Mandis. “A number of union ministers have reiterated the Prime Minister’s promise that the MSP regime would continue. There is every reason to doubt that promise,” said Rai.
Refuting the Delhi government’s allegation, the Union Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution said the allegation that FCI has not opened any counter to procure foodgrains in Delhi is baseless. “FCI Delhi region is fully prepared to procure wheat from farmers of Delhi. Three centres FSD Mayapuri, Narela & APMC Najafgarh Mandi have been fully operating from April 1. Till date 158 quintals of wheat has been purchased at FSD Narela by FCI Delhi region.”