ALAPPUZHA:‘Puncha’ season paddy harvesting is almost complete in the state. But the farmers are an unhappy lot. For, they are yet to receive the procurement price from the government.
The Kerala State Civil Supplies Corporation, which procured around 3,63,800 tonnes of paddy this season, owes a whopping Rs 408.79 crore to around 1,25,668 farmers in the state. Topping the list are the farmers of Alappuzha with Rs 178 crore followed by those in Palakkad district with Rs 111.72 crore. The corporation owes Rs 55.31 crore to the farmers of Kottayam, Rs 43.05 crore to the farmers of Thrissur, Rs 2.79 crore to the farmers of Ernakulam, Rs 6.79 crore to the farmers of Malappuram and Rs 9.87 crore to the farmers of Pathanamthitta.
‘‘I carried out ‘puncha’ farming in two hectares leased out by a landlord after spending more than Rs 50,000 by pledging gold ornaments and depending on private moneylenders. Though a month has passed after the corporation procured the paddy, I am yet to get my remuneration. Some banks provided loan in lieu of paddy receipt sheet(PRS), but that is insufficient to meet the next round of farming and repayment of loans,’’ said Krishnankutty, a farmer from Mankombu.
According to Food and Civil Supplies Minister Anoop Jacob, the delay in releasing the funds is due to the financial crisis of the government. ‘‘Though the Corporation is taking up the issue with the Finance Department, it has received no response so far. Last week, a meeting was convened by the Finance Minister and it was agreed to release about Rs 60 crore. The amount is expected to reach the corporation soon and it will be distributed immediately,” he said.