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MSP guarantee only way to curb ‘cheating’ by traders: SKM

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BATHINDA: Blaming the Centre’s “selective” crop procurement system for inequity in pricing, farm organisation Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) on Sunday said a robust, legally enforceable minimum support price (MSP) mechanism was the only way to curb what it termed “cheating” by traders.

“Govt procurement is from a handful of states, including Punjab and Haryana. Traders exploit this system, purchasing produce cheaply from various states and transporting to Punjab and Haryana, where they sell at govt-declared MSP,” SKM said.

“This unfair practice will stop only with guaranteed procurement and opening of mandis in all states.”

SKM declared it was “rejecting in advance” any attempt to bring a central MSP ordinance based on “A2+FL”, representing costs incurred by farmers on various inputs and the imputed value of family labour.

SKM wants MSP based on the C2+50% formula recommended by the Swaminathan Commission.

SKM said that during the 2014 poll campaign, BJP promised to implement MSP based on the C2+50% formula. In 2023-24, MSP declared for wheat was Rs 2,125 a quintal and Rs 2,183 for paddy, both of which were based on A2+FL calculations, it said.

The farm organisation argued that if MSP were based on C2+50%, the same products would be priced around 30% higher.

“Given the average paddy yield of 25 quintals an acre, a Punjab farmer suffers a loss of Rs 17,075 an acre. If the farmer goes for two crops annually, the loss per acre would be Rs 34,150,” SKM said.

While the govt now argues against the C2+50% formula, BJP promised Rs 3,100 a quintal for paddy before polls in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Telangana, and Rs 2,700 a quintal for wheat in Rajasthan and MP, it said.

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