Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) has written to Bihar CM Nitish Kumar to restore mandi system so that maximum farmers are able to sell wheat and paddy at minimum support price (MSP). BKU has threatened to launch a big movement if its demands are not met.
Coincidently, RJD Ramgarh MLA Sudhakar Singh had resigned as agriculture minister recently after the Bihar CM had not considered his demands of restoration of mandis. Bihar had mandi system in place till 2006. The state had about 100 mandis.
In a letter to Bihar CM Nitish Kumar on 17 October, farmers’ leader BKU national spokesperson Choudhary Rakesh Tikait wrote: “It is to bring to your notice that farmers (in Bihar) have not been getting proper platform to sell their grain and they do not get good price for their produce and there has been no mandis in Bihar for 15-16 years. Farmers of Bihar are often forced to sell their grains through middlemen at lower cost than cost of cultivation”. Tikait added that farmers’ condition had been worsening as they have no money to buy seeds and take care of their family.
“With no mandis in place, Bihar farmers often to migrate to other states to work as labour. Education of those students who come from garmers’ families is fretting affected. The government should restore mandis in Bihar to ensure platform and MSP to farmers. If it is not done, we would be forced to launch big movement,” said Tikait.
RJD, which is in alliance, has always in favour ofandi system. An RJD leader said: “We cannot attack our own government but Sudhakar Singh had raised valid questions before he resigned. Besides mandis, we are also in favour of engaging multiple agencies to procure grain as against just one agency – Primary Agriculture Cooperative Credit Society (PACCS)”.
JD (U) national spokesperson KC Tyagi, however, told The Indian Express: “We are as much concerned about farmers as anyone could be. Mandi system too, was heavily-infested with middlemen culture and this system also does not ensure MSP. We had opposed three farm laws which were finally recalled by the Centre”.
Tyagi added that as per latest NCRB reports, there had been no case of farmer suicide in Bihar and state farmers too have lowest loan liability in the country.