A high-level meeting is convened here on Monday to take a decision on the disposal of a huge stocks of tur and maize procured by the State government recently to bail out farmers. “There is no place to store as all the government godowns are full. We have taken empty buildings and unused cinemas on rents to stock them. Even yards in APMCs are temporarily converted into storage places. The government wants to dispose of the stocks as early as possible before pre-monsoon rain occurs”, Law and Parliamentary Affairs and Animal Husbandry Minister T B Jayachandra said on Friday. He told Express that the government was not in a position to do anything in the last two months since the model code of conduct was in force for Lok Sabha polls. However, relaxation in the code of conduct came as a respite for the government to take a decision on the disposal of stocks, he said. “We will request the union government to buy the stocks of tur and maize procured by us at high prices. If it is not ready, we will take the Centre’s permission to clear the stocks. The prices at which tur and maize will be sold will be decided at Monday’s meeting. A quick decision has to taken or else whatever we have stocked will go waste. We will not allow that to happen since the government has spent around ` 1,900 crore on their procurement”, Jayachandra said. “For the first time in history of Karnataka, the government has spent `1,900 crore to procure tur and maize after the prices crashed in the open market. The government had given better prices to farmers than the minimum support prices (MSP) fixed by the Centre. While the State has set a revolving fund of `1,000 crore for market invention, an additional `900 crore has been spent by the government. It is a record since no government in the past has spent more than `300 crore on procurement”, he pointed out.
Jayachandra said over 20,000 farmers of the tur growing districts registered their names for the procurement of their produce. More than the financial burden, it was the problem of finding place (to store the stock ) which is haunting the government, he said.