Six months on, Bhopal farmers await payments under MSP system

It's been more than six months since the farmers in Bhopal's Berasia sold their wheat to the government but they are still to get the complete payment.

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The damage was caused after wheat had been procured from the farmers. (Image for representation: PTI)

While farmers' protests continue at Delhi's borders against the three farm laws, the government's claim of maintaining and upgrading the Minimum Support Price (MSP) as an essential part of the procurement system has fallen flat in Madhya Pradesh.

Farmers in Bhopal's Berasia are now being made to pay for the damage caused to wheat by rain after it was procured by the government. It's been more than six months since the farmers sold their wheat to the government but they are still to get the complete payment.

45-year-old Kedar Singh who owns around 35 acres of agricultural land in village Lalu Kkhedi in Berasia, about 50 km from Bhopal, is yet to receive Rs two lakh from the government.

In the last wheat season, Kedar Singh produced around 800 sacks of wheat of which he sold 600 under the government procurement system. Of these, 200 sacks were sold in the last lot of which he has just received half of the payment. The government owes him around Rs 1, 92,000 but he has not been successful in getting his money despite several visits and complaints to all top officials.

"I had sold 200 sacks in the last lot. Now, they are not releasing my full money. It's been more than six months and they keep on saying that there is a recession because of Corona and the government does not have the money," Kedar Singh said.

Kedar is not the lone sufferer. There are around one dozen farmers from this small village who have not got the dues. All of them have receipts issued by the government which detail the quantity of wheat procured and the money that is due. The farmers have made several complaints on the CM's helpline and have also approached the local politician but to no avail.

"The society owes more than Rs three lakh to me. There is a seven-day limit but it's been more than six months and we have still not got the money. The government is just delaying, has no solution," Ram, Kumar Meena said.

The manager of the cooperative society in village Lalu Khera where this wheat was sold, however, claims that the society has done all that it could including distributing its own share of profit among farmers. According to him, the government rejected the wheat that was damaged due to rain at cooperative societies.

The damage was caused after wheat had been procured from the farmers. "Rain came suddenly, the wheat got damaged, we got it auctioned and also gave the profit of the society to these farmers but that was not enough. The government has to take a call and the matter is pending with top officials," Basant Jat, cooperative society manager of village Lalu Khera said.

The government while claiming that all farmers will get their dues said that the delay was due to bureaucratic hurdles.

"We have given more than Rs 27,000 crore to farmers this year. Previously, only big farmers used to benefit, but now all farmers are getting the benefits. In such a big system, some problems are bound to happen because of apathy of officials," state agriculture minister Kamal Patel told India Today TV.