FCI wheat procurement row: Delhi BJP MLAs sit on dharna outside Kejriwal's residence

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New Delhi, Apr 10 (PTI) Delhi BJP MLAs staged a dharna outside Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's residence here on Saturday after they failed to meet him to discuss procurement of wheat from farmers in the national capital.

Leader of Opposition in Delhi assembly Ramvir Singh Bidhuri claimed that the farmers in Delhi are 'unhappy' with 'bad' farm policies of the Arvind Kejriwal government.

The protesters alleged that the 'failure' of the Delhi government to verify the documents of farmers had forced them to sell their produce at Rs 1,600 per quintal, which was below the minimum support price (MSP) offered by the Centre.

'Kejriwal had claimed that his government had implemented the Swaminathan Committee report in the city and the farmers were being provided 50 per cent bonus over and above the MSP,' Bidhuri said.

'At present, the MSP declared by the central government is Rs 1,975 per quintal and the 50 per cent bonus comes to Rs 987.50 per quintal and this should be paid to the farmers immediately,' he said.

The delegation, led by Bidhuri, later presented a memorandum to Kejriwal which stated that the Food Corporation of India (FCI) had started procurement of wheat at Rs 1,975 per quintal in Delhi from April 6. 'This procurement was done based on verified documents of farmers. However, on April 7, the city government stopped verifying the documents and so FCI could not make any further procurement which was unfortunate,' Bidhuri claimed.

BJP MLA Vijendra Gupta urged Kejriwal to immediately issue strict instructions to the agriculture department to commence the verification of documents of the farmers so that they are able to sell their produce to FCI at the MSP.

Notable, Delhi Agriculture Minister Gopal Rai had alleged that FCI did not set up counters in mandis for procurement of wheat from farmers.

After a meeting with FCI officials, the minister said FCI counters will be set up in Narela Mandi from Monday.

'Bidhuri had falsely claimed that FCI counters were already set up in Narela Mandi, and that I should resign. I request him to first properly investigate the matter and then make statements,' Rai said.

PTI VIT SRY