Tribune News Service
Patiala, October 18
Cracking the whip against those transporting paddy from other states for illegal sale in Punjab, the police have filed 13 FIRs, arrested 20 persons, and impounded over 32 vehicles carrying about 8,225 tonnes of paddy in the past two days.
SSP, Patiala, Vikram Jeet Duggal said they had received information that a number of trucks carrying paddy from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar were entering Punjab through various inter-state routes.
“We identified various in-bound routes across the Punjab-Haryana border such as Shambu, Pehowa, Balbera, Cheeka, Dhabbi Gujjran and Patran in Patiala district, and set up nakas to check the movement of such trucks. Teams consisting of police, revenue and mandi officials have been formed to check the illegal practice,” Duggal said.
“Preliminary investigations revealed that this paddy is first purchased at lower prices in other states and then transported to Punjab, where it is sold at a much higher price, thereby giving a huge price margin to the seller. This practice not only burdens the state exchequer, but also causes a huge amount of indirect loss to the farmers of Punjab. Most heavy vehicles carrying paddy come from UP and Bihar,” he said.
“The authorities have done nothing to stop the practice. A number of traders are buying paddy from other states. This is illegal as paddy grown in Punjab can only be sold in the local mandis. Also, the buyer has to pay fee to the market committee on every purchase. This is clearly a case of tax evasion,” member of a farm union said.
“There is a huge difference between the MSP in Punjab (Rs 1,888 per quintal) and states like UP, Bihar and Rajasthan. Farmers in these states are selling their crop to Punjab traders at Rs 900-1,000 per quintal. After paying the freight charges (Rs 150-160 per quintal), it costs the traders Rs 1,150 per quintal. This means they make a profit of nearly Rs 700 per quintal,” he alleged, adding that strict action should be taken against dealers buying paddy from other states.