Delhi Agriculture Minister, Gopal Rai, stated on Wednesday that the Food Corporation of India (FCI) has not set up a single counter for wheat procurement in Delhi, yet it is making false claims of purchasing the crops on MSP rates from April 1.
Briefing media, Rai said despite the Delhi Government writing a letter thrice, the FCI has not opened any counter yet and the farmers are being forced to sell their wheat to the stockholders at different rates.
Demanding the Central Government’s intervention in the matter, Rai said Centre should start their purchase of crops in Najafgarh and Narela Mandi from April 8th. “The officials who are involved in such activities of making false claims and writing that since April 1 the procurement has begun, must be stringently dealt with,” he said.
“The Central Government is responsible for fixing MSP of crop and FCI is responsible for making purchases, but BJP is falsely accusing the Delhi Government of not buying wheat on MSP Rates. This is the absurd reality of the Prime Minister's assurance to buy crops at MSP rates, MSP will sustain,” Rai said.
“It is very important to make MSP a legal guarantee,” Rai said demanding the central government to convene immediate purchase at MSP rates in Najafgarh and Narela Mandis.
“Stringent action should be taken against the culprits who are making these false claims that the counters of purchase have been set up in these mandis Delhi from April 1,” he added further.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader mentioned about the ongoing farmers’ protest, he said, “In the face of the farmers' movement, the ripening of wheat all across the country has been done, and the harvest has already begun. In New Delhi, which is the national capital, a very small area of land is facilitated for farming, including areas like Narela, Bawana, Mundka, Najafgarh, and Mehrauli. “In such areas, ripening of wheat has been done and harvest season has commenced.” However, in spite of repeatedly requesting the Food Corporation of India (FCI), which is operated by the central government, in all the mandis in Delhi, they are not ready to purchase the crops at MSP designated rates and set up their own counters,” he added.
Delhi government on 11 February had written to FCI stating the corporation must make the requisite preparations for purchase of wheat in Mandis of Delhi so as to enable the timely sale of crops and the farmers to get their yields sold at MSP rates.
“They have an exclusive performance according to which the letters are drafted to them, which we did and sent to the FCI. After this, we sent another letter as a reminder to the previous one on 1st March and requested the same in this letter again. Post which, they replied to us stating that they will be setting up counters in FSD Mayapuri, FSD Shakti Nagar, Narela Mandi, and Najafgarh Mandi for purchase of the crops. However, after repeated complaints from various farmers, we did a review of the mandis the day before omn Tuesady and it was found that no counters have been set up as of yet. On April 6th , we again sent a letter to the FCI and requested them to set up counters at least in Najafgarh and Narela Mandis, where farmers come to sell their crops, and they must guarantee that the counters will be set up. The most astounding bit is: that there were no counters that were set up, but they replied in the form of a letter and mentioned that the counters have already been set up from March 1st and the purchase of crops is already being done,” he added.
. When this reply came to us, we did an enquiry from the secretaries of both the mandis today. However, the secretary of Narela Mandi replied in writing to us that till today, no counter has been set up and not even a single grain has been purchased by the FCI yet,” he added.
Rai said, “I want to put all these facts and say that if the Prime Minister had assured the procurement of crops on MSP rates, then he should immediately intervene on this issue. The PMO should intervene immediately.”