Mumbai: As many as 4,000 persons who sold tur at various procurement centres in Maharashtra posing as farmers are now on the radar of the state government. Principal secretary of the state agriculture ministry Bijay Kumar has issued orders to all the district collectors to submit a detailed report where “suspicious farmers” were found to have sold tur (pigeon pea) at these centres.
The state government had to set up procurement centres for tur due to the bumper production of the crop which resulted in a dip in its prices pushing the farmers into a debt trap. “I have issued orders to the district collectors and hope to get a detailed report from them in the next 10-days,” Bijay Kumar told PTI.
“Prima facie from transactions such as bank accounts and 7/12 extracts we found that there are around 4,000 persons who posed as farmers and sold tur at the procurement centres in the state,” said a senior agriculture officer on condition of anonymity. “There will be more clarity once a detailed report is available from respective district collectors,” the official said.
“The government suspects that some people, mostly traders sold the tur posing as farmers at these centres which were set up to purchase the commodity only from farmers at the rate of Rs 5,050. “Many traders had purchased tur from farmers in advance at a lower price and to book profit they posed as farmers and sold the tur to these centres,” said the officer.
Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis had in May this year alleged that there was largescale malpractice during tur procurement. He even claimed that corruption in procurement could be to the tune of Rs 400 crore. The state government, after completion of tur procurement has now issued orders to probe the cases where discrepancies were noticed.
So far, Maharashtra government has purchased 67,34,717 quintal of tur with total outlay for the same being Rs 3,401 crore. Out of it, Rs 2,817 crore have been disbursed. A total number of 3,54,417 farmers were benefitted by the tur procurement scheme of the government.