September 19, 2023

Punjab Department of Agriculture rescinds order allowing private dealers to sell PR 126 to MRP

: The Punjab Department of Agriculture on Tuesday withdrew its order allowing seed dealers to sell the short-duration rice variety PR 126 at the “unregulated” maximum retail price (MRP) following opposition from labor unions. farmers who demanded the state government to supply the seed directly to the farmers and control its hoarding and black marketing by private actors.

During a meeting of seed dealers with Director of Agriculture Gurwinder Singh on the department’s order to crack down on the black market of PR126 seed in Chandigarh on Monday, the director had verbally authorized dealers to sell the seed to 100 per kg, roughly the same price as MRP, a department official said.

Following the meeting, Deputy Director of Agriculture Avtar Singh issued the order to allow paddy variety PR 126 to be sold to MRP.

Agriculture Secretary Dilraj Singh Sadhawalia ordered Director Gurwinder to issue all communications to the districts and restrain all other officials from giving instructions on the matter.

“The order issued by Co-Director of Agriculture Avtar Singh to allow the sale of variety PR 126 on MRP by private actors has been immediately withdrawn. These orders were issued without the Director’s approval. I issue an opinion justification to the co-director about it,” Sadhawalia said.

When issuing the order on Monday, the department withdrew its previous order issued on May 5 and ordered that if the sale of seed by a private dealer is stopped by taking action on this order, it should be authorized now. .

In the decree of May 5, the co-director of agriculture declared having learned that certain private seed companies are selling the variety PR 126 at prices higher than the fixed price of 43.75 to farmers, who suffer financial losses because of this.

“To safeguard the rights of farmers, form teams under the Seeds Act 1966 and Seed Control Order 1983 to check seed dealers and a daily report must be submitted,” he said. ordered.

According to officials, PUNSEED and PAU of Punjab State Seed Corporation are selling PR 126 seeds for 35 and 43.75 per kg, respectively. However, the average MRP of a 10 kg bag of PR 126 seeds on the market is approximately 900-1000, which means that the farmers had to pay around 100 per kg for seeds.

Last week, Balwinder Singh of Moga submitted an affidavit to the district agriculture department that a private company had sold him 10 kg of PR 126 seed for 1000.

The state government has announced financial assistance of 1,500 per acre to each farmer sowing paddy using the DSR technique, using PR-126 seed developed by PAU.

However, there is a major shortage of the variety in the market. PAU had developed 2,600 quintals of seeds and put them on sale on March 20.

But in more than a month, all the stock was sold out. Much of the seed was purchased by private seed dealers. The huge demand and resulting scarcity has led to the black market in seeds.

Rajinder Singh Deep Singh Wala, Vice President of Kirti Kisan Union, said, “The government must have controlled the tariffs and the seeds must be supplied directly to the farmers. First, they sold huge stocks to private companies and showed shortage,” he said, asking how can the MRP be more than double the price set by the government?

BKU (Sidhupur) State Chairman Jagjit Singh Dallewal said that instead of supplying seeds to farmers, PUNSEED supplies them to private actors, who sell them at high prices up to 150 per kilogram.

“We spoke to the director of agriculture about the non-availability of PR-126 seed on several occasions. But instead of providing it to farmers at cheap rates, they were going to allow the black market through the MRP,” he added.


    Parteek Singh Mahal is a multimedia correspondent based in Faridkot, Punjab. It covers medical education, politics and policing of Punjab.
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