The Government of Telangana has urged the Centre to increase the minimum support price (MSP) of cotton to Rs.5,000 per quintal, and also to relax norms, quality specifications, while procuring the produce through the Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) as the cotton growing farmers are faced with increasing unrest.
Telangana Minister for Market and Irrigation T. Harish Rao called on Union Secretary of Textile Sanjay Kumar Panda in Delhi on Tuesday and explained him about the problems being faced by farmers in the State, which is the leading producer of cotton in south India, and urged him to increase the MSP and also relax the procurement norms.
The Centre has fixed the MSP of cotton from Rs.3,936 to Rs.4,100 per quintal, based on the moisture content in the produce at the time of procurement. However, farmers have been complaining that they were not getting even Rs.3,936 as the CCI authorities colluded with private traders to deny the rate.
Protests by cotton farmers have become a common feature from the mid-October, when the CCI has commenced opening procurement centres across the State. Not getting even the MSP for their produce â€“ cotton, ironically which is also knows as the white gold â€“ and refusal of the CCI authorities to purchase cotton with over 12 percent moisture content, have been the common complaints from the farmers.
Mr. Harish Rao also told the Textiles Secretary that the CCI had opened only 45 out of 84 purchases centres assured for the season. Even the procurement centres which have been opened so far are purchasing cotton only for three days a week, leading to uncertainty among the farmers.
He urged to direct CCI to open all 84 centres and purchase cotton for at least five days a week. So far CCI has purchased only 50,000 quintals of cotton against over one-lakh quintals by now last year. Cotton has been cultivated in 16.97 lakh hectares during the kharif season and the production is estimated to be about 290 lakh quintals.
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