Social media gaffe leads to onion ‘theft’ by Rajasthan farmers

Urvashi Dev Updated: Saturday, November 28, 2020, 12:57 AM IST
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Jaipur

A miscommunication on social media took an unusual turn in Rajasthan with a swarm of 200 farmers swooping down on a Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) in Dungarpur and looting a stock of onion.

KVK director Dr CM Balai filed a police case at the Dov­ada police station. The ‘theft’ took place on Thursday at the farmhouse of the Krishi Vigyan Kendra in Faloj on the outskirts of Dungarpur, a tribal-dominated district, 550 km south of Jaipur.

Scores of farmers barged into the farmhouse, uprooted the crop, and made off with the bulbs, leaving officials in a quandary.

Dr Balai said the incident occurred due to a miscommunication. On social media, someone said KVK was distributing free onion bulbs of a special hybrid variety developed by KVK scientists, leading to a number of farmers descending on the centre. Officials tried to reason, saying no free onions were distributed but in vain, and the farmers dug up the onion bulbs and took them.

Balai said the officials had actually called 20 farmers associated with the agricultural centre to give them onion bulbs of a new variety. The bulbs were being distributed at a low price and were not free. The hybrid variety of onions has been developed by the KVK at a cost of Rs1 lakh. The variety has a better taste and higher production. The new variety also has a longer shelf life. The farmers can easily get a higher price in the market. The growers who were given the bulbs last year, sold their crop at Rs6,000 per quintal as against Rs3-3,500 for their regular crop.

Bhupendra Singh, constable at Dovada police station, said the KVK officials had only filed a complaint about non-compliance of section 144 imposed in the district in view of the Covid pandemic.

“We told them we can register a case of theft but they did not want to file an FIR. They only wanted to put in a complaint about non-compliance of the health protocol so they are not hauled up in case of any query,” said Singh.

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