Unlike the previous years, many farmers have now claimed that their payments were put on hold or under suspension due to flimsy grounds such as spelling mistakes or mismatch of names and other particulars in their bank accounts and land revenue records. Farmers have termed the situation as nothing but harassment.
The new payment system is applicable only to the paddy procurement centres of the food department. In case of other procurement agencies, the payment is temporarily transferred to bank accounts of farmers through RTGS (real time gross settlement).
According to district food and marketing officer Avinash Jha, PFMS was introduced this year to wipe out manipulations in payment transfer process. “PFMS is a financial portal of the Union government on which all bank accounts in the country have been fed. After procuring paddy from a farmer, the transaction concerned is locked online by the in-charge of the procurement centre with his digital signature. Then the verification process begins — in which the farmer’s bank account, revenue documents of land ownership and his registration with the government website are checked alternatively by the district food and marketing officer and the regional accounts officer. Finally, all the details are uploaded by the latter on PMFS in order make the payment to the farmer,” Jha said.
Jha said payments of many farmers are categorised as failure, pending or mismatch of names depending on the various contradictions found during verification.
Till November 10, a total of eight purchase agencies through their networks of 134 functional centres across the district procured 1.23 lakh metric tons (MT) of paddy from 13,313 farmers. Of these, the food department had procured paddy from as many as 3,686 farmers under PFMS, Jha said.
Regarding the status of payment to these farmers, Jha said particulars of 2,897 farmers out of 3,685 matched but info on 52 farmers did not match. He said transfer of payments to 152 farmers failed due to certain bank-related issues. Payments of 353 farmers are pending as the verification process is still on, said Jha.
Harkishan Singh, a farmer from Bilsanda block, told TOI that payment due to him was held up just because his wife was shown as the first holder of the bank account while he was shown as the second holder. “Since the past 10 days, I have been running from pillar to post meeting various authorities concerned to get the corrections done, but to no avail,” he said.
Sukhdeep Singh of Kalinagar alleged that his name in the bank account was spelled as Sukhdip while it is spelled as Sukhdeep in the land revenue records. He said nearly Rs 1.80 lakh payment to his bank account was suspended just because of spelling mistake in his name.
Vice-president of Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) Manjit Singh said the messy procurement system was the prime reason why a majority of the farmers had sold paddy to private traders at much lower prices than the government rate because this ensures immediate payment, bypassing the knotty procedures put in place by the government.