Chandigarh, Dec 10 (IANS): Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) President Sukhbir Badal on Sunday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to intervene and ensure that cotton was procured at the minimum support price (MSP) in Punjab.
He said he has received complaints from farmers that the Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) had downgraded the MSP of cotton in Punjab.
In a statement here, the SAD P:resident said it was shocking that instead of giving an MSP of Rs 6,920 per quintal for long staple cotton, as was done earlier, the CCI has imposed a quality cut of Rs 150 and was giving an MSP of Rs 6,770 per quintal to farmers.
He said farmers in the Abohar belt were suffering because the CCI was procuring the produce in bits and spurts.
He said procurement was stopped on November 30 and restarted on December 7 only.
He said even after that the procurement was stopped on December 9 and was now likely to be restarted on December 12.
Badal said the repeated stoppage of procurement was forcing farmers to sell to private players who were purchasing the produce in the price range of Rs 5,000 to Rs 5,200 per quintal.
He said farmers were forced to go in for distress sale as they could neither transport their produce long distances nor store it.
He said out of nearly 3.5 lakh quintals of cotton which has been procured in the state the CCI had procured only one lakh quintals.
Urging the Prime Minister to issue necessary instructions to ensure uninterrupted and smooth procurement of cotton, he also appealed that farmers be given an MSP of Rs 6,920 and that arrears be paid to farmers who had sold their produce at Rs 6,770 to the CCI.