Demanding withdrawal of agricultural marketing tax, the state paddy trader’s association has threatened to stage a protest. At a special convention in it’s office at Alamgunj in the town, the ‘Paschombanga Dhanya Byabsayee Samiti’ – the paddy trader’s body demanded that the state should allow purchase of paddy from the traders at the MSP (Minimum Support Price) offered to the paddy growing farmers across the state.
The farmers are offered Rs 1960 per Quintal of paddy during the procurement by the state. Paddy in the open market is sold at Rs 1540 per Quintal. Bengal , a prominent paddy growing state, produces an average 2.60 Cr Metric Tons of paddy each year.
“Of this total production, a meagre 20 per cent is procured by the state against MSP. The rest of the marketable surplus is sold through us and for that the state Agricultural Marketing department charges an additional 0.5 per cent as levy, which is borne by our colleague traders that hits their marginal profit perpendicularly,” said Narayan Chandra Ghosh, the state president of the Samiti.
Delegates from paddy growing districts like Burdwan (East and West), Hooghly, Birbhum, Murshidabad, Jhargram and Midnapore (West and East) assembled at the convention. The Samiti officials meanwhile claimed that the the paddy growing farmer has to bear the burden of levy, which discourages the farmer to sell his produce at the open market.
Pashupati Pramanik, state secretary of the Samiti said: “After deduction of levy, in a major paddy growing district like Burdwan East, a farmer ultimately earns Rs 1450 per Quintal of production.” The state, meanwhile hasn’t altered the rate of levy over the years despite amendments in the respective Acts linked to agricultural commodity trading.
Sudip Paul, Assistant Director of District Regulated Market in Burdwan East said: “The rate of levy remains the same since years. As we’ve tightened surveillance, this might have caused inconvenience to some traders who are used to unhealthy selling practices.”