Centre's spoilsport : Agri Bills will disrupt marketing systems

Agri Bills will disrupt marketing systems
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Agri Bills will disrupt marketing systems

Highlights

Although the Union government claimed that the new farm Bills will be a game changer in the farm trade in the country, the Telangana government feels it otherwise

Hyderabad: Although the Union government claimed that the new farm Bills will be a game changer in the farm trade in the country, the Telangana government feels it otherwise. "Despite the claim that the new Bills are brought as per 'One Nation-One Agriculture Market' norm, they will play a spoilsport in the lives of farmers, feels the latter.

The TS government feels that there was a threat of closure of one of India's famous mirchi yards in Khammam and country's biggest paddy and rice procurement centre in Miryalaguda under the new Bills. The Khammam mirchi yard is not only a major revenue generating market yards in the state but also an exporter.

Chillies to the tune of Rs 1000 crore are exported from this yard every year. The State government will also lose nearly Rs 300 crore revenue, including mandi fees, and the existence of one of the key departments of Agricultural Marketing in the government is hanging in balance. Nearly 30,000 workforce may lose their jobs.

State authorities also fear that it might affect functioning of nearly 190 market yards once the new Bill comes into force. The Market Committees have been playing important role in the purchase of agriculture produce from the farmers by the commission agents and traders. This may not be possible if the farmers are allowed to sell their produce anywhere in India.

Similarly, one of the major rice procurement centres in the country - Miryalaguda in Nalgonda district, may also lose its sheen. At present, traders from Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala buy rice from this yard. It also exports rice to South Asian countries. The new Bill will change the entire business dynamics. Strong mechanism in place in the market yards and remunerative price to farmers is being paid instantly, the state government feels.

Under the new Act, traders will buy produce from farmers outside the market yards and there is no official mechanism to monitor the payments and curb cheating. The officials also do not rule out the threat of huge job loss. More than 30,000 workers, including hamalis and commission agents, may lose their employment. As many as 700 employees in the Agriculture Marketing departments will also lose work once farmers stopped selling their produce in the yards. All the Market Committees will become dysfunctional under the new Bill, they fear.

Another big disadvantage of the new farm Act is that the government cannot update the availability of foodgrains stocks in the state as the traders are free from the mandated furnishing of the details of the sale and purchase of farm produce on a monthly basis. "The government will be clueless on the availability of foodgrains and It will lead to hoarding and artificial scarcity created by the trader mafia. The consumers will be at the receiving end," the officials say.

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