ARIYALUR: Struggling to protect their harvested paddy from the elements while being forced to
wait days together for direct purchase centres (DPC) to procure their crop, farmers in the district seek immediate procurement and that too, in excess of the target.
Over 50,000 acres of paddy were cultivated in various areas, including T Palur and Thirumanur, in the district during Samba season last year. The harvest took place from January to March. While a total of 48 DPCs have been opened in the district to procure it, only 800 bags (each weighing 40kg) of paddy are being purchased a day at the centres through an online registration system, which, farmers say, is insufficient.
This leads to a pile-up of paddy bags from farmers waiting to sell their harvest, at the centres. Further, paddy was procured by the DPCs in several villages, including Sripuranthan, Keezhakavattankurichi, Kundapuram, Elanthakudam, and Karaivetti, is reportedly lying accumulated for the past 10 days without being shifted to the godown. This adds to the space constraints faced by DPCs.
Thangashanmuga Sundaram, a farmer from Keezhakavattankurichi, said, "Procurement takes place without any planning at all at DPCs in the district. In the past, farmers harvested using manpower. This led to a delay in harvesting. Currently, farmers harvest using machinery and bring it to the procurement centres immediately after that. But there are more paddy bags piled up in the centres than from procurement."
"The paddy brought in by the farmers gets wasted in the inclement weather as there are not enough tarpaulins and sheds in some centres. Thus, farmers struggle to protect their paddy. The district administration should hence take immediate action to purchase the paddy brought by the farmers and transport it to the godown," he added.
Another farmer, P Velladurai of Thirumanur, said, "I harvested paddy over my three acres of land. This year I also got a good yield. I registered online to sell my paddy in the area DPC early last month when the harvesting got over. I was given a token that my paddy bags would be purchased by the end of last month. But due to a delay by the procurement centres, my crop was not procured even after the promised date. I am hence suffering from various issues, including protecting my paddy. Many like me are also suffering here."
"Apart from this, the authorities in DPCs demand `30 to `40 as bribe from farmers per bag. This must be prevented. These issues continue every year," he added. When contacted, a senior official from the district civil supplies department told TNIE, "We continue to procure paddy following the guidelines issued by the
government. Some days there are delays in making purchases due to various reasons. Otherwise, paddy is being procured regularly on a daily basis. However, I will look into it and take action."