Tribune News Service
Moga, October 26
More than 56 lakh bags of paddy have been waiting to be lifted by the procurement agencies in more than 180 grain markets in the district for the past many days causing inconvenience to the commission agents and farmers.
Due to the delayed lifting of foodgrains, hundreds of farmers are reportedly selling their produce directly to rice millers, thus evading 3 per cent market fee and 3 per cent Rural Development Fund benefiting the rice millers on private purchase.
District Mandi Officer (DMO) Jasvir Singh has denied the reports of evasion of government taxes. “We raided a few rice mills in the past couple of days and found no evasion of taxes,” he said.
He said some discrepancies were found in a rice mill at Fatehgarh Panchtoor and the market committee stopped its operations for four days. A warning was also issued to the owners of a couple of other mills.
Meanwhile, a visit to a few rice mills in the adjoining areas of Moga city confirmed that direct purchase of paddy from farmers was going on unabated. A farmer of Dhalleke village said he had sold his paddy to a rice mill to avoid hassles of drying the grains due to high humidity content and waiting in the queue for purchase.
Farmers also allege that the rice millers were packing gunny bags with extra grains ranging from 1 kg to 1.5 kg per bag (3 kg to 4.5 kg per quintal) on the excuse of shrinkage.
Rice millers claim that the weight of bags containing grains of high humidity content reduces after the purchase due to shrinkage.