Traders' strike pushing fine paddy growers to distress sale

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Kurukshetra, Aug 28 (UNI) The growers of superfine quality of paddy in Haryana were being pushed to distress sale with Haryana Rice Millers Association boycotting the markets.

The farmers, who had thronged the market as the rice millers purchase the superfine paddy for milling during this season, were in a fix, as there was virtually no buyers these days for the superfine quality which was sold at the rate of Rs 2200 per quintal ealier.

However, the decision of the Haryana Rice Millers Association, led by Azad Singh Rathi not to lift paddy from the mandis till the Hooda government acceded to their demands, might force some of the small paddy growers to resort to ''distress sale,'' while the bigger farmers might take their product back home.

''Last year, I sold PR-1 at the rate of Rs 2200 and Basmati at Rs 3500, but this year, there is no buyer and I am having sleepless nights in the Kurukshetra Mandi for the last five days, said Jaswinder Singh Virk of Bhor Saiyyada village.

''If the condition does not improve, I would have to take my 250 quintal paddy back home, as I can't wait any more here, neither shall I make a distress sale of it at the rate of Rs 950 meant for the coarse varieties,'' he asserted.

''The government should give us bonus directly and allow us to take our product to any other state for sale,'' he demanded.

The farmers also lashed out at the unions like the Bhartiya Kisan Union, Khet and Mazdoor Congress as well at the political parties which were silent on this ''exploitation'' of the farmers.

''Five days have passed and not even a single leader of the unions or parties have come to the rescue of the farmers of this paddy belt,'' rued a young farmer Jaswant Singh of Amin village, adding that small farmers would have to sell at a lower rate, if the situation did not improve.

The farmers also complained about lack of facilities as they are forced to sleep in the open in the mandi, which does not even have a proper gate and security to protect their produce.

While Mr Angrez Singh, president of the Mandi Aarti Association was not available in his shop, an official of the Thanesar Market Committee said that the state government was yet to announce the rate and date of the purchase of paddy in the mandis.

Meanwhile, farmers had stopped bringing paddy to the mandis and were eagerly awaiting the truce between the traders and the state government.

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