Tribune News Service
Bathinda, December 6
Cotton farmers held captive an official of the Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) at a grain market of Goniana Mandi on Friday afternoon. Farmers alleged that the official concerned did not procure cotton on the MSP fixed by the Union Government.
Farmers, under the banner of BKU (Ekta Ugrahan), also staged a protest and raised slogans against the government for not procuring cotton from mandis across the district. Notably, farm union members had been holding demonstrations in the region alleging that the CCI has not been conducting procurement of cotton at government rates (MSP), thereby giving opportunity to private procurement agencies to exploit farmers, who while citing higher moisture content or low quality, procure cotton on a rate way below the minimum support price.
The protesters rued that more than half of the agricultural produce (cotton) had already been procured this season, but the CCI had not come to various mandis to procure cotton till now. Block president of the union Amrik Singh said: “The loot of white gold goes on, as the CCI has not been procuring the cotton produce, taking advantage of which private players are procuring cotton on low rates.”
The protesting farmers said if the CCI did not start procurement of cotton on government rates, they would continue to hold its officials captive in the coming days as well. Later, the protest was called-off when the official concerned promised the farmers to conduct procurement twice a week on the MSP.