Farmers have been forced to sell their paddy to middlemen at a much lower price than the minimum support price announced by the state government as funds to the procuring agencies like State Food Corporation (SFC) and Primary Agriculture Credit Societies (PACS) have not been released by the concerned departments, senior BJP leader and former deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi said in a statement.

The state government had announced setting up paddy procurement centres by November 25, but not a single centre has been set up any where in Bihar till date as a result of which the farmers have been forced to sell their produce to middlemen at throwaway price, he said.

The senior BJP leader also criticised the state government for patting its own back by announcing a bonus of  Rs 300 bonus per quintal on paddy procurement and said the concerned departments were yet to release Rs 900 crore for the purpose as the book with regard to utilisation of Rs 300 crore for bonus distribution to farmers by the SFC and PACS has not been accounted for as yet.

At the present tardy pace of paddy procurement process this year, it would take months for the farmers to claim bonus for their produce, the former deputy Chief Minister said.

It may be mentioned that the state government has fixed a paddy procurement target for 30 lakh tonne at the rate of Rs 1,360 per quintal for ordinary paddy and Rs 1,400 for Grade A paddy in addition to Rs 300 bonus per quintal for the Kharif season.

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