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'Cotton Corporation failed to protect farmers' interest'

Committee visited Warangal agriculture market yard on Feb 8 following flash protest by the cotton farmers on being denied MSP

BS Reporter  |  Chennai/ Hyderabad 

The Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) has not been following the guidelines either on opening the notified procurement centres or on offering proper value to the farmers' produce, according to a fact finding committee headed by former Andhra Pradesh high court judge Justice G Bikshapathi.

The committee visited the Warangal agriculture market yard, one of the largest cotton markets in the state, on February 8 following a flash protest by the cotton farmers on being denied the minimum support price (MSP).

In this specific incident, the cotton bags brought by the farmers got soaked in sudden rains as the market yard had no overhead cover to protect the farm produce from such eventualities. The CCI officials, on the other hand, had made deductions in the value of cotton on that account.

Justice Bikshapathi said though the Warangal Agriculture Market Committee was responsible for the damage caused by the rain, the farmers had to incur the loss as the CCI officials did not lift the stocks in time even after declaring the price for the same.

Even otherwise also the CCI officials were found to be making deductions in the value of cotton without following any scientific procedures such as the usage of moisture metre etc, he said. The corporation also failed to open 11 procurement centres as notified by the management forcing the farmers to bring their produce to the lone centre at Warangal from far off places, according to him.

Farmers are also being exploited by commission agents and other middlemen at the market yard and their condition is no different in other market yards in the state, he said.

First Published: Mon, March 04 2013. 20:22 IST