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Fazilka farmers allege harassment by millers 

Fazilka:  Hundreds of farmers held a protest at the local grain market on Monday, alleging harassment by rice millers. The farmers claimed that the millers had formed a cartel and had been dictating terms for buying paddy instead of following the government norms.

Zila parishad member Sidharth Rinwa, who led the protest, alleged that a large quantity of parmal variety of paddy procured by the government agencies with approved moisture content of 17 per cent had been returned by some millers on the pretext of high moisture content.

He alleged that the millers in connivance with agency officials had tampered with moisture meters to show faulty reading. Harjinder Singh of Kamalwala village alleged that his produce was rejected thrice in a week on the pretext of high moisture content.

The farmers also held a protest outside the office of Gurpreet Singh Lovely Kathpal, president of the Arhtiya Association, for not supporting them. 

Arun Dhuria, general secretary, Rice Millers Association, said they had not returned paddy having moisture content within the permissible limit of 17 per cent. He alleged that the farmers were pressuring them to buy produce with high moisture.

Deputy Commissioner Manpreet Singh said the procurement agencies had been buying paddy as per the government specifications. He said he had sought permission to allow rice millers from other districts to buy paddy from Fazilka to prevent harassment of the farmers.

Release dues, association tell agencies

Fatehgarh Sahib: The Rice Millers’ Association has demanded immediate release of payment against their paddy shelling bills for 2017-18 to help them procure paddy. Nakesh Jindal, press secretary of the association, said the procurement agencies had not yet cleared their shelling bills despite having got the money from the FCI. He said crores of rupees of rice millers were stuck with agencies and they were suffering financial loss. He said the procurement of paddy for 2018-19 had started, but the millers were awaiting dues of last year. He urged the Food and Civil Supplies Minister to intervene and direct the agencies to release the payment. 

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