Gujarat, Nafed trade charges over groundnut purchase

The Gujarat government and the central government agency Nafed are blaming each other for the quality and destruction of a huge quantity of groundnut in the state.

The state government, between October 2017 and February 2018, procured around 8.30 lakh tonnes of groundnut through National Agricultural Co-Op Marketing Fed Of India Ltd (Nafed) under the price support scheme (PSS), as the state had witnessed a bumper crop of 32 lakh tonnes.

However, several sacks of procured groundnut were found to have a mixture of dirt and pebbles. Moreover, lakhs of tonnes of groundnuts got destroyed in fires since January this year.

At least four incidents of fire have been reported at groundnut warehouses, including at Gandhidham in Kutch, Gondal in Rajkot, Jamnagar and again near Gondal.

Post this, Gujarat Agriculture Minister R C Faldu wrote a letter to the Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh that the Nafed had failed to take care of the stock of groundnut.

He said that the Nafed ought to have appointed staff to monitor the quality of groundnuts during purchase, weighing, sealing, transportation and storing. Instead, private warehouses without adequate guards, CCTV installations or other security arrangements were allowed to store the procured groundnut.

“The allegations levelled by the state agriculture minister are far from the truth. Either he is unaware or has been misguided. The government is responsible,” Vaghji Boda, Nafed chairman, said.

“The farmers never bring inferior quality produce and none of the Central warehouses have had any problems. The misconduct has happened at the State Warehousing Corporation and local APMC godowns," Boda added. 

Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel, for his part, put the onus back on Nafed saying, “The state government has no role and the entire process is monitored by Nafed.”

 

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Gujarat, Nafed trade charges over groundnut purchase

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