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Chennai, April 11 – The paddy farmers of Tamil Nadu have alleged that the staff of the Direct Purchasing Centres (DPCs) are demanding a bribe of Rs 50 per bag to buy their produce.
The farmers have called for an immediate intervention by the state agriculture department to prevent this.
Vadivelu Rathnam, a farmer at Thanjavur told IANS, “We had met the RDO of Thanajvur a couple of days before and given a written complaint against the staff of the DPCs who are charging Rs 50 as bribe for each bag of paddy. With such a heavy bribing, we cannot move ahead and it is better we lose the crop.”
He said that the Samba paddy harvesting season was in full swing but the “lethargy and corrupt attitude” of the DPC staff has led to several farmers taking oath of quitting farming from the next season.
Swaminthan Raman (49), a paddy farmer from Tiruchi told IANS, “The DPC staff are asking bribes without any remorse and we ourselves feel ashamed. If the district administration does not take stringent action against the staff, the whole idea of procuring paddy will fall flat. Private players will commence exploiting the farmers, and I strongly urge the government to intervene into the matter with immediate effect.”
The farmers also said that the DPC staff were flexing their muscles at farmers after irregularities were pointed out.
Senthil, a farmer from Pudukottai told IANS that the DPC staff were cutting 3 kg as wastage and when pointed out they were trying to intimidate the farmers. He said that they had earlier complained about the matter to Chief Minister M. K. Stalin and was expecting a positive result from the office of the Chief Minister.
The aggrieved farmers said that the farmers’ unions have taken up the matter with the government authorities but added that not much solace have come.