Haryana ban on exterior crops negates Centre’s free market coverage

Deepender Deswal

Tribune News Service

Hisar, September 29

Haryana has barred the farmers of neighbouring Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan from bringing paddy and bajra crops for sale in the state’s markets, much against the “one nation, one market” spirit of the new agriculture laws.

Though the three contentious farm laws cleared by Parliament recently are yet to be notified, the state government’s action is being viewed as contrary to what the Centre has been propagating: farmers can sell their produce anywhere in the country.

As crops fetch lower rates in their home states, Uttar Pradesh farmers have been trying to sell their produce in Karnal and Panipat markets. Police personnel manning barricades at these two places claimed they had “orders from Deputy Commissioners that PR varieties of paddy shouldn’t enter the state”. In Hisar, Divisional Commissioner Vinay Singh has issued directions to check the entry of outside bajra for sale in Hisar, Bhiwani and Charkhi Dadri markets.

Paddy is procured in Haryana by central agency FCI under a decentralised system where the state government’s expenditure is reimbursed by the Centre. The MSP for grade-A paddy variety this time is Rs 1,888 a quintal. However, crops like bajra, maize and moong are purchased by the state government at a support price on the condition that the entire stock will be consumed in the state itself.

An official said the ban on the sale of outside crops could also be due to an illegal practice adopted by unscrupulous traders. “The traders purchase bajra outside the state at a lower price (around Rs 1,400 a quintal) and get it procured in Haryana at a higher MSP — Rs 2,150 per quintal. The neighbouring states don’t offer any support price,” he said.

To counter the illegal practice, the government has made it mandatory for state farmers to register on “meri fasal mera byora” portal and mention in advance how much land they had sown their crops on. “But traders have been making fake entries to skirt this norm too,” said the official.

PK Das, Additional Chief Secretary, Food Supplies and Consumers Affairs, said prior registration on the portal was a must for paddy farmers bringing their produce for procurement. “The same norm applies to non-Haryana farmers, but they have to wait for a message we send prior to procurement,” he said.

As far as bajra, moong and maize were concerned, Haryana didn’t purchase these crops from outside farmers, maintained Das.

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