Ruchika M Khanna
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, November 3
Even as the Punjab Government rejected the Central farm laws, the state mandi board allowed a private firm to buy kinnow from Abohar without paying mandi fee or registering itself with the Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee.
HP-based Hindustan Farmdirect Ingredients Pvt Ltd reportedly bought 2,000 metric tonnes (MT) of kinnow in 2019 and had a target to buy 4,000 MT this year. The company reportedly did not pay 2 per cent mandi fee levied on horticulture crops.
The matter came to light in June following which a notice was issued to the firm for violating the Punjab Agricultural Produce Markets Act, 1961.
In its reply, the firm claimed that as per the central Act (passed in September), it was free to buy produce from any state without registration. The legal opinion sought by the Market Committee of Abohar corroborated the claim. On October 16, the mandi board ordered a probe. Ravi Bhagat, MD, Mandi Board, said: “The letter (allowing exemptions) was issued before the state passed Bills. The firm has now been asked to get registered.”