Cotton farmers are becoming victims to the conjuring middlemen. With no trace of government procuring centres, the middlemen are exploiting the farmers as per their whims and fancies. The negligence of the officials is not only denting the revenue of the government, but also affecting the lives of the farming community. As a result, almost 500 trucks of cotton from Tandur are being carried to Guntur on regular basis.
Farmers from Yalal, Peddemul, Tandur, Basheerabad cultivate cotton in a large scale. Though the monsoon did not favour, the farmers, however, had hopes that their yields could save them from their debts. But, all their hopes short lived, when the government failed to announce Minimum Support Price (MSP) and to set up procuring centres. Taking the situation to their advantage, some middlemen are directly approaching farmers in villages to purchase cotton. They are only deciding the prices as per their conveniences. The business of the middlemen has been going unabated, even though they don’t posses any permission from the government. It is learnt that about 20 middlemen who formed a syndicate are deciding the prices of cotton as per their wish.
The price of cotton in open market is about Rs 6,300 per quintal. But, the middlemen are offering only 4 to 5 thousand per quintal. They are not giving more than Rs 2,500 per quintal to some farmers by saying that their produce has more humidity. Neither marketing officials nor the people’s representatives have been bothered to care of what’s been happening. It is alleged that the middlemen and the concerned officials colluded on the issue. Even worse, the purchasers are deceiving them by using old weighing machines. Only electronic weighing machines are supposed to be used while procuring, but the middlemen are using old equipment and weighing stones. The weighing method is again adding to loses for the farmers. This is the high time that officials intervened and stopped the exploitation that is not only damaging the farmers, but also the revenue of the government.