A day after the Aurangabad bench of the Bombay High Court rapped the Maharashtra government with regards to the plight of cotton farmers, the latter announced that 23.83 lakh quintal will be procured before the onset of monsoon. Of the 410 lakh quintal cotton produced in 2019-20, so far, 386.17 lakh quintal has been procured, comprising 188.17 lakh quintal by the Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) and the Maharashtra State Cotton Federation and 198 lakh quintal by traders. The procurement of 23.83 lakh quintal has been pending, largely due to nationwide lockdown enforced due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The government has been procuring cotton at a price ranging between Rs 4,700 and Rs 5,300 per quintal. Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, who holds the Finance Department, chaired a meeting and announced that the government will complete the procurement of 23.83 lakh quintal cotton from the farmers before the monsoon. The government has made a comprehensive plan to purchase at least fair average quality (FAQ) cotton. The procurement centres will function on holidays as well.
He informed that cotton procurement in Chandrapur and Nanded district will be done at the ginning factories situated in the border areas of Telangana. This was necessitated, as there are no ginning factories in Chandrapur and Nanded districts.
In order to facilitate cotton procurement at the ginning factories, cotton seeds and bales will be shifted on a priority basis. The time required for the same has been reduced to 10 days from 15 days. The government has increased the penalty amount if the cotton seeds and bales are not shifted in a time-bound manner.
On Tuesday the Aurangabad bench of the Bombay High Court had asked all cotton farmers to put forth their grievances regarding the lapses on part of the Maharashtra government and other relevant authorities. The HC had also ordered the government to file a detailed affidavit regarding its policy for purchasing cotton from farmers and why it did not buy cotton from these farmers via offline mode.
A bench of Justices Tanaji Nalawade and Shrikant Kulkarni passed the significant order while taking note of the plight of cotton farmers who are facing losses due to the delay on part of the authorities in purchasing their produce.