Mumbai, Apr 4 (PTI) The Maharashtra government has yet to pay Rs 480 crore to tur daal (red gram) farmers following the procurement, an official said here today.

The government started purchasing tur daal from farmers on February 1.

“The government had planned to make the entire payment of Rs 780 crore at one go, but it was no feasible. We could transfer only Rs 300 crore into the bank accounts of farmers so far. The payment of remaining Rs 480 crore will take some time,” a senior officer from the state marketing department told PTI.

The procurement of tur daal will continue till April 18 through 167 centres, he said.

The government is yet to meet its tur daal procurement target of 44.6 lakh quintals; the procurement so far is 14.33 lakh quintals.

The daal has been purchased from around 1.18 lakh farmers, mostly from Marathwada, so far.

Opposition parties had sought to corner the BJP-led government during the Budget session of the state legislature over the delay in procurement and payment, after it was revealed that only Rs 33 crore had been transferred in bank accounts of the farmers who sold tur daal at government procurement centres.

Following the criticism, the government expedited the process, and Rs 3OO crore have been transferred as of yesterday, the official said.

“We have received an assistance of Rs 500 crore from NAFED (National Agricultural Co-operative Marketing Federation of India), which is being used for making payment to tur farmers,” the official said.

Commenting on the issue, pro-farmer Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana’s spokesperson Yogesh Pande said, “The government has announced a purchase rate of Rs 5,450 per quintal. The rate offered by traders is around Rs 4,000 per quintal, but they pay immediately. So farmers prefer to sell tur to private traders, but it causes them a loss as the rate is less.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.