Three farmers attempted suicide in Harda district of Madhya Pradesh on Thursday over the alleged delay in payments of their gram crop procured by the state government months ago. However, the Cooperative Department claimed a procurement scam had taken place in the purchase of gram in the district and a probe is underway.
All the three farmers had sold their crop at Chaukdi co-operative society and alleged they have been waiting for months for payment.
Harda is the home town of Agriculture minister Kamal Patel.
Parmanand, a native of Sarangpur, consumed poison outside Chaukdi co-operative society in the presence of police, said officials. The two others, Suraj Kumar from Neemgaon and Sandeep from Dhangaon, were rushed to hospital later.
Kumar’s family claimed that police remained mute spectators while his brother consumed poison. “We have applied for payments on several occasions but the co-op department did not release them,” said his brother.
As the news spread, a large crowd including Congress party leaders gathered outside the private hospital where the farmers were being treated. Soon senior administrative officers also reached the spot.
Harda Additional Superintendent of Police Gajendra Singh Wardhman said a case has been lodged and probe underway, adding that the farmers are now stable.
The Chaukdi co-op society had records showing purchase of 33,339 quintals of gram but an inquiry found only 28,156 quintals of stock. Names of 71 farmers were found to be ineligible for payments and Kumar’s name was allegedly part of the list and deleted by the department. Rs 54 lakh was paid to 38 farmers against 1,170 quintals of crop and the amount is being recovered, which will be paid to 31 eligible farmers, said Satish Sitoke, who conducted the inquiry.
Some farmers hailing from places more than 50km away from Chaukdi had sold their crops though fraudulent means and a case was lodged at the Chhipawad police station against cooperative society manager Dinesh Baghel who is absconding.
(With inputs from Pravin Singh Tanwar in Harda)
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