Chandigarh, May 22 (PTI) Punjab Food minister Bharat Bhushan Ashu on Friday condemned the Centre for its “arbitrary” decision to delink the commission of 'arthiyas' (commission agents) from the Minimum Support Price (MSP).
Ashu said the step will create hindrances in the ongoing smooth procurement process of agricultural produce in the country and asked the Centre to revoke the decision. At present two and half per cent commission is paid for services rendered in connection with sale and purchase of agriculture produce under rule of Punjab Agriculture Produce Markets (General) Rules, 1962 to arthiyas, said Ashu in an official release here.
The commission of arhtiyas in Punjab is part of statutory charges, so it cannot be delinked from MSP till the provisions under rules are amended by the legislature, he claimed.
In his letter to Union Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan, Ashu said, “You are aware that the state is already passing through financial constraints due to COVID-19 pandemic and the same is the case with the arthiyas.” “They have made remarkable efforts in ensuring hassle free procurement despite constraints during curfew. They also followed health protocols about sanitisation of mandis and labourers and spent massive amount for this purpose. Due to their efforts, ongoing procurement process is running smoothly,” he said.
Meanwhile, president of Arthiyas Association, Vijay Kalra met Ashu over the issue and urged him to take it up with the Centre. PTI CHS VSD RHL