Patna: Ashok Pandey,
a farmer in Bihar, is worried after a Rs.143,000 cheque given by a
state agency for his paddy crop bounced twice last one month. He
is feeling cheated as the government had announced that farmers
would be paid at the earliest for their paddy.
After a bumper paddy crop this kharif season, Pandey was a happy
"I was upbeat about selling paddy for good money but the cheque
given by the state food corporation bounced," said Pandey, a
resident of Kudra in Kaimur district.
Another farmer, Jai Prakash Upadhyay, is also worried for the same
reason. "A cheque of Rs.171,000 given to me by the (state) food
corporation Feb 16 bounced," he said.
Pandey and Upadhyay are among hundreds of farmers across Bihar who
deposited their cheques in banks but these bounced.
It is also an embarrassment for the state government.
Bihar Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Shyam Rajak said last
month: "We have directed officials to deposit the amount in the
bank account of farmers within 72 hours of procurement."
Pradip Kumar, managing director of the state food corporation,
said everything would be sorted out within a week.
"Cheques given to farmers would not bounce in the next one week as
money would be deposited in the banks next week," Kumar said.
He admitted that due to shortage of money in their bank accounts,
dozens of cheques given to farmers bounced.
So far Bihar has procured nearly 21 lakh tonnes of paddy, with a
target of 30 lakh tonnes, officials Friday said.
Rajak said paddy procurement will continue till April 30. "We are
sure to achieve a record target of 30 lakh tonnes of procurement
After two years of successive drought, a bumper paddy crop this
season has come as a huge relief to millions of farmers in Bihar.
"This year Bihar has produced over 70 lakh tonnes of paddy," Rajak
According to the minimum support price announced by the central
government, farmers will get Rs.1,080 per quintal of paddy -- up
from last year's price of Rs.1,010.
The government has purchased six crore gunny bags worth Rs.200
crore to achieve the paddy procurement target, an official said.
Government agencies involved in procurement had till last week
complained of scarcity of gunny bags.
"It was found true and the government decided to purchase gunny
bags to remove any hurdles," a Food and Consumers Affairs
Department official said.
(Imran Khan can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)