The Maharashtra government's ongoing tur procurement drive may face fresh troubles as it has planned to purchase only 25 per cent produce of every farmer based on an average productivity of the region. The Maharashtra State Marketing Federation (MSMF), an arm of the state government, has shot a letter asking all the tur procurement centres to abide by the 25% norm, a government official said. However, the move is being objected by farmers claiming it was an injustice towards them. The government has opened tur (red gram) procurement centres in several districts of central Maharashtra, Marathwada and Vidarbha regions. The productivity of tur varies among these regions, but the state government has fixed it at 6.50 quintals per hectare. The farmers from these regions have objected to it as they claimed to have higher productivity and demanded the state government to revise its earlier fixed productivity bar per hectare. In its letter, dated January 31, to tur procurement centres, the MSMF fixed the 25% tur procurement norm along with 6.50 lakh quintal per hectare productivity. Manik Kadam, a senior farmer leader of the Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatna, said, "the state agriculture department's report on tur production maintains that productivity in Marathwada region is around 5.50 quintals to 12 quintals per hectare. The variation is based on quality of the soil." "Despite such variation, the state has fixed the productivity at 6.50 quintal per hectare.
It is sheer injustice, as state wants to buy less tur to save its money," he alleged. Government officials on the other hand claimed that farmers are not completely unhappy with the decision of limited tur procurement. "We have purchased more than 15,000 quintals of tur and the figures will jump in the coming days, as many farmers have brought their produce to the procurement centres. The farmers with very low land holding who have produced tur will benefit from it because their share of procured tur will be higher," they said. However, Kadam said farmers have already held several meetings across Marathwada and parts of north Maharashtra against this "injustice". "The state will soon see our protest on roads for revising the tur productivity norm and the 25% (limit). We want both to be revised," he said.
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