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Punjab: Amidst farmer protests, Centre makes an all-time high purchase of rice and cotton at MSP

The timely purchase by the government entity led to a rise in the market price of cotton above the Minimum Support Price. This has helped small farmers as they are now able to sell their produce to private traders and ginners at ₹5800 per quintal, in comparison to the official MSP of ₹5,665.

While the protestors from Punjab have been preparing for their ‘tractor parade‘ on Republic Day against the historic farm laws, the Union government has made a record high purchase of rice and cotton from Punjab at the Minimum Support Price (MSP), reported Indian Express.

As per reports, the Cotton Corporation of India (CCI), which is governed by the Union Ministry of Textiles, has purchased 85% of kapas (raw cotton) marketed for the month of December in Punjab. An estimated 27.5 lakh quintals of cotton out of 32.50 lakh quintal, marked till December end, was procured by the CCI at the Minimum Support Price (MSP). It must be mentioned that 52.50 lakh quintals of kapas were produced in the State in 2020.

As per the Indian Express report, Rajvir Singh Golta, a cotton farmer informed that he sold 52 quintals of medium-long staple kapas (26.5-27 mm fibre length) to the CCI and received the full MSP of ₹5,665 per quintal for his fibre crop between early October and mid-December. Expressing his happiness over the government’s decision, Golta said that the timely sale at MSP has helped him immensely since the market price was around ₹4600- ₹4800 per quintal at that time.

Impact of purchasing cotton timely at MSP

Golta emphasised, “Prices going above the MSP will only benefit farmers with larger holdings. But I don’t mind that. For me, what matters is getting an assured price at the time of bringing my crop to the mandi immediately after harvesting.” He further added, “MSP is necessary for farmers who have no capacity to hold on to their crop and wait for prices to go up. We need money to run our kitchen and sow the next crop.”

However, as per the Indian Express report, Golta and another farmer named Tiwana who has sold 21 quintals of cotton, were both a part of the farmer protests. They said that they protested to ensure that the government purchases at MSP and last were the CCI had entered late, only after private firms had purchased cotton below MSP.

The timely purchase by the government entity led to a rise in the market price of cotton above the Minimum Support Price. This has helped small farmers as they are now able to sell their produce to private traders and ginners at ₹5800 per quintal, in comparison to the official MSP of ₹5,665. At the same time, long-staple varieties of Kapas (27.5-28.5 mm) is now being sold at ₹5900-5950 as against the MSP of ₹5725 per quintal.

While speaking about the development, an official from the Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) noted, “We have made record purchases this season. In fact, we have stopped buying in the past 10-12 days. There’s no need when prices are ruling above MSP. Small and marginal farmers have anyway sold their crop to us.” Nonetheless, the government agencies also purchased 202.78 lakh tonnes of paddy from the State of Punjab at an MSP of ₹1,998 per quintal.

Protestors plan on disrupting Republic Day Celebrations

Just weeks ahead of the Republic day celebration in the country, Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait on Thursday said that protestors will carry out another procession from Red Fort to India Gate on January 26 and also hoist the tricolour at Amar Jawan Jyoti. According to the reports, the self-proclaimed ‘farmer’ leader Rakesh Tikait claimed that the march will be a ‘historic scene’ where from one side they will have ‘kisan’ and the other side ‘jawan’.

Interestingly, Tikait’s announcement comes two days after Khalistani terror organisation Sikhs For Justice (SFJ) had announced a reward of Rs. 1.8 crores for hoisting the Khalistani flag on India Gate on the Republic Day. In a letter issued by SFJ, Khalistani terrorist Gurpatwant Singh Pannu gave a call to the Punjab farmers protesting on Singh border to raise Khalistani flag at India Gate on January 26 and receive a reward of Rs. 1.8 crores.

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