Amid farmers protests, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar said procurement of paddy crops will start in all the mandis in the state from Sunday. The Samyukt Kisan Morcha has also decided to withdraw demonstrations after Centre announced to begin the procurement from tomorrow in Haryana and Punjab.
Farmers in Punjab and Haryana on Saturday held protests at many places against postponing paddy procurement. The Samyukt Kisan Morcha on Friday had given a call for holding protests outside the residences of legislators in both states to register their protest over the delay in purchasing paddy crops. The Centre on Thursday postponed procurement of Kharif paddy in Punjab and Haryana till October 11 as the crop maturity is delayed and moisture content in fresh arrival is beyond permissible limits owing to recent heavy rains.
The procurement operation is undertaken by the central government's nodal agency Food Corporation of India (FCI) along with state agencies.
Paddy procurement usually commences from October 1.
Meanwhile, Haryana minister Anil Vij on Saturday said the farmers' agitation against the Centre's new laws is getting “violent day by day”.
“Farmers' agitation is getting violent day by day. Violent movement in the country of Mahatma Gandhi cannot be allowed….,” said Vij in a tweet.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal urged the Centre to start the purchase of paddy crops.
“The farmers of Punjab are upset, the central government has postponed the purchase of paddy for 10 days, farmer is standing outside the mandis carrying lakhs of quintals of paddy on his tractor,” said Kejriwal in a tweet.
In Punjab, farmers gathered outside the residences of several Congress legislators, including Punjab Vidhan Sabha Speaker Rana K P Singh in Rupnagar and MLA Harjot Kamal in Moga and staged protests over delay in the purchase of paddy crop.
Police personnel were deployed in strength to maintain law and order, said officials.
Farmers expressed apprehension that they would suffer if their crop is not purchased at the grain markets.
Paddy crop, though in small quantity, has started arriving in mandis especially in border areas of Punjab, said farmers. They questioned where the farmers, who have brought their crop at mandis, will go if their product is not purchased.
Some fear that they would be forced to sell their crop below the minimum support price (MSP) to private traders.
A farmer in Haryana's Karnal said his paddy crop will get damaged by October 11 when the Centre would start procuring it.
At some places, farmers even handed over memorandums to the Deputy Commissioners demanding commencement of paddy purchase.
In Haryana's Ambala, police put up barricades to prevent farmers from laying siege to the residence of BJP legislator Aseem Goel.
A fire fighting vehicle and a water cannon vehicle were also deployed outside the residence of the MLA.
A tight security arrangement has been made outside the residence of Minister Vij at Ambala Cantonment, said, officials.
(With inputs from PTI)