Administration in Madhya Pradesh's Hoshangabad has made a New Delhi-based private company buy paddy from local farmers at the rate fixed by both the parties under an agreement earlier this year after the company refused to make the purchase as per the agreed upon price.
The action has been taken under the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020. Under the law, the highest price as agreed upon by the company in the agreement inked with the farmers has been ensured to them.
Fortune Rice Limited New Delhi had signed a deal with farmers of Bhuakhedi and nearby villages in Bhainsdehi block of Hoshangabad in June for buying paddy at the highest available price in the mandi. As the paddy prices surged to Rs 3,000 a quintal, company representatives switched off their mobile phones and went incommunicado.
On December 10, farmers Pushpraj Patel and Brajesh Patel approached the Syb-divisional Magistrate (SDM) and complained against the company. On the request of district administration, the Department of Agriculture advised them to take action under section 14 of the Contract Farming Act.
Taking prompt action, the SDM court issued summons to the company representatives and ordered them to furnish their reply within 24 hours. When the director of the company, Ajay Bhalotia, submitted a reply, a conciliation board was constituted under the new law and the local tehsildar and others were deputed as members.
The company officers accepted that they had agreed to buy paddy on highest mandi prices prior to December 9 and also admitted that they had refused to buy the crop. Upon a mutual agreement, the SDM court on Friday issued an order that the private company will buy paddy from the farmers at Rs 3,000 a quintal including Rs 2,900 a quintal and Rs 50 per quintal bonus.
The farmers expressed joy over the SDM court verdict under the new farm law adding that this would ensure they don’t suffer losses as the buyer refused to honour the agreement.
Agriculture minister Kamal Patel, commenting on the Hoshangabad case, said that the Congress was misleading farmers on the farm bills. If the act had been passed earlier, the farmers would have been much more prosperous, he said.
Amid growing opposition against the farm laws, senior BJP leaders will run a campaign December 14 to 16 to back these bills and allay fears in Madhya Pradesh.
(With additional reporting from Shailendra Kaurav, Hoshangabad)