“When it was ensured in the Bills that farmers will have to be paid for their crop within three days, the Congress stood against them. When it was ensured in the Bills that farmers' land can neither be sold or mortgaged, the Congress got disturbed,” Irani claimed.
An Arhtiya Samvad Sammelan called bay the BJP turned into a Congress bashing session with Union Minister Smriti Irani hit claiming that the ruling party in Punjab was getting “restless” as farmers have been given the freedom to sell their produce anywhere in the country.
“When it was ensured in the Bills that farmers will have to be paid for their crop within three days, the Congress stood against them. When it was ensured in the Bills that farmers’ land can neither be sold or mortgaged, the Congress got disturbed,” Irani claimed.
The Union minister claimed that it were the Congress workers were protesting on the roads claiming themselves to be farmers.
Without without Shiromani Akali Dal or the AAP, she added, “Other political parties have also made their workers to come on roads in order to save their identity and were giving such protests the name of farmers’ protests.”
The Modi government ensured the transfer of money directly into bank accounts of farmers under the Kisan Samman Nidhi scheme, she said. The Congress, which remained in power at the Centre for over six decades, should answer farmers why it could not develop such a system, she added while addressing a virtual conference with the arhtiyas.
During the meeting, four arhtiyas, all BJP officer bearers, asked questions to Irani. They complained FCI, cotton corporation of India (CCI) and questioned the usage of ‘Vicholiya’ (middleman) for arhtiyas.
Krishan Nagpal, member of state arhtiya cell and ex-chairman of market committee (nominated by BJP) said, “Arhtiyas rare afraid as they do not now whether their commission will remain stable or not. Punjab Government gives commission to arhtiyas for wheat and paddy procurement via web portal and similar procedure should be started by Centre as well. If queries are not addressed well in time, arhtiya will instigate farmers to protest”.
One arhtiya highlighted that 70% commission of wheat season 2020-21 was released by FCI recently only and the remaining payment is yet to be done while their part payment has also been deducted. He also thanked BJP state chief Ashwani Sharma for getting this payment released. To which Irani said, “This is the reason why Sharma was attacked as he was going out of the way to help our arhtiya brothers.”
Amar Lal, RSS seh sanchalak from Sangrur, who is also an arhtiya, spoke about some pending payments from FCI’s side. Most of the arhtiyas said that CCI should include arhtiyas in procurement of cotton and alleged that CCI officials were indulging in corruption in connivance with factory owners.
Regarding cotton purchase Irani said, “We have approached state government repeatedly to help us reach out to farmers in streamlining the procurement, but they are not helping us”.
“If you have any problems related to corruption with CCI, give us in writing and we will take strict action against the officials.”
Nagpal, however, said, “I had called at Textile Minister’s office at least 10 times and left message with the person who attended phone calls, but I never heard back from you.”
“There is an atmosphere of fear among arhtiyas in Punjab. They want to know whether they will get commission in coming days or not ,” said one of them, adding that the state had around 27,000 arhtiyas.
The minister assured them that the Agricultural Produce Market Committee Act will stay and “hence there is no question that arhtiya’s commission is in danger. We have already purchased 3 lakh MT paddy from mandis, which is a proof about our commitment towards MSP”.
She accused Congress of spreading misinformation that arhtiya’s will lose their commission.
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