Centre permits one-time fee by way of arhtiyas

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 9

The state government has been allowed to “temporarily” disburse payment to farmers through arhtiyas in the ongoing paddy season.

The Centre has clearly stated in a letter to the state government that this will be the last time that the farmers get payment through the arhtiyas.

‘Save our interests’

Arhtiyas’ removal from the procurement process won’t be tolerated. We are sure the state government will safeguard our interests. — Vijay Kalra, arhtiyas’ federation president

‘Govt is with you’

The state has been assured that the arhtiyas are legal entities under the APMC Act. We are firm that arhtiyas cannot be removed. — Bharat Bhushan Ashu, Food Supplies Minister

The regional office of Food Corporation of India (FCI) has been directed by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution to ensure that the directions of making direct payment to farmers are followed from the next crop marketing season before accepting the foodgrain from the state.

The state government had earlier pleaded with the Centre to allow payments through the arhtiyas, citing Covid-19 and farmers’ stir the reasons for not completing the KYC norms under the Anaj Kharid portal.

A sum of Rs 61,564 crore is being disbursed to farmers for both wheat and paddy this year. While Rs 26,064 crore was disbursed for wheat procured in April-May, Rs 35,500 crore is to be disbursed for the paddy purchase.

The Centre has been pushing Punjab for two years now to make direct payment to farmers. The state government has been avoiding this, mainly because the arhtiyas or commission agents enjoy political patronage because of their money power.

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