FCI has not opened a single counter for wheat procurement in Delhi, yet it is making false claims of purchasing the crops on MSP rates from April 1: Gopal Rai*
New Delhi April 7, 2021 : Delhi Agriculture Minister Gopal Rai stated on Wednesday that the FCI has not set up a single counter for wheat procurement in Delhi, yet is making false claims of purchasing the crops on MSP rates from April 1. He further added that 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. Shri Rai added that 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. He said that this is the absurd reality of the Prime Minister’s assurance to buy crops at MSP rates and said that MSP will sustain. He said hence it is very important to make MSP a legal guarantee. Shri Rai earnestly demand the central government to convene immediate purchase at MSP rates in Najafgarh and Narela Mandis and said that 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.
Rai said, “It’s been a long while that the farmers have been protesting against the three farm laws, and have been fighting to get MSP as a legal guarantee in farming. A number of cabinet ministers of the central government, including the Agriculture Minister himself, and a number of ministers in the parliament have claimed that when the Prime Minister has stated that MSP will remain, and will be followed in all areas of sales in production of all crops, people shouldn’t doubt it any further.
Rai further added that 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.
Rai further stated that the farmers are coming with ripened crops in the mandis, but they are helpless and have to sell them at different rates. “The first time that we appealed in writing to the Food Corporation of India was on 11th February and wrote a letter to them stating that they 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 yesterday and it was found that no counters have been set up as of yet. Post this, yesterday, which is 6th April, 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 1st March and the purchase of crops is already being done. 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 also put forth the report that stated the same from Najafgarh Mandi. He further commented upon the false accusations made by BJP ministers. “At the same time, BJP leaders had a press conference yesterday. In which he said that the Kejriwal government is not buying crops at the MSP Rates. The MSP has been determined by the central government, the crop has to be purchased by FCI. We are repeatedly requesting that FCI should purchase the crop, yet the FCI counter is not being installed and has made false accusations in writing that the purchase is taking place from April 1. Till date, there is not a single counter that has been set up. If all this trickery is going on in Delhi, the capital of the country, then what will be the condition of the farmers in the remote villages and districts. Under the pretext of claims made by the Prime Minister, farmers are being asked to end the agitation. That is the reality of the entire assurance by the PM that MSP will sustain.
Agriculture Minister Gopal Rai further said: Today, I am making two demands to the Central Government. One is that the central government should intervene with immediate effect and start their purchase of crops in Najafgarh and Narela Mandi from tomorrow. And second, 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. Both the mandis have clearly stated that a single grain has not been purchased there, it is indeed a matter of investigation. If any officer is involved in this, then action should be taken against them. These things are proof of how important it is to enact the MSP law because there are only two markets inside Delhi, however, in bog states which have such mandis in every block, there will be a problem. There is a small part in Delhi, where farming is done.
Rai added, “Today, 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.”