• Wrote a letter to Union Food Minister to revoke this arbitrary decision
Chandigarh, May 22 (Geetika);
Condemning the Union Government’s arbitrary decision to delink the commission of Arthiyas from Minimum Support Price (MSP), Punjab Food & Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs Minister Bharat Bhushan Ashu said that this unfair practice will create hindrances in ongoing smooth procurement process in entire country.
Taking up the matter strongly with the Union Government to pull back this decision, Ashu stated that at present two and half percent commission is paid for services rendered in connection with sale & purchase of agriculture produce under Rule of Punjab Agriculture Produce Markets (General) Rules, 1962. He said that the commission of Arhtiyas in Punjab is part of statutory charges, so it cannot be delinked from MSP till the provisions under Rules are amended by the legislature. He said that decision in this regard is arbitrary for want of recommendations of Committees of Arthiyas and Labour Charges of Food Corporation of India (FCI). He said that meeting could not be convened by the FCI to decide the State wise rate due to the Covid-19 pandemic leading to complete lockdown/curfew as such in the present circumstances.
In his letter to Union Food Minister, Ashu said that “You are aware, State is already passing through financial constraints due to Covid -19 pandemic and the same is the case with the Arthiyas. They have made remarkable efforts in ensuring hassle free procurement despite constraints during curfew. They also followed health protocols about sanitization of Mandis and Labourers and spent massive amount for this purpose. Due to their efforts ongoing procurement process is running smoothly.”
Ashu said that decision in this regard should be revoked considering the previous practices as the situation demands more incentives to all stakeholders because the state of lockdown/curfew creates difficulties for them.
Meanwhile, President of Arthiyas Association Vijay Kalra also met with Cabinet Minister Ashu and raised this issue. He demanded that this issue should be taken up with GoI and Food Ministry and interests of Arthiyas should be secured.