In a first, farmer sues traders under new regulation, gets dues

A maize grower from Maharashtra has turn out to be the primary particular person to invoke a provision in one of many three just lately enacted farm reform legal guidelines , suing two traders for not paying cash owed him on the market of produce and forcing the meals retailers to clear an excellent invoice of Rs 285,000, in response to paperwork reviewed by HT.

The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, one of many legal guidelines handed in September to liberate agricultural commerce within the nation, makes it obligatory for consumers to pay cultivators “within three days” of a transaction.

Farmers in some states, particularly Punjab, are protesting the farm legal guidelines, fearing that these may erode their bargaining energy and create a monopoly for giant companies in the long term. For Maharashtra cultivator Jitendra Bhoi, nevertheless, the regulation proved efficient in making wholesale meals aggregators, who typically make peasants run after them for funds, clear dues promptly.

“Before The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020 was enacted this September, India did not have legal mechanism available for farmers to enforce time-bound payments,” an official of the agriculture ministry stated, requesting anonymity.

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Bhoi raised a maize crop this summer season in his 18-acre farm in Bhatane village of Shirpur tehsil within the state’s Dhule district. A tehsil refers to a civil administrative zone. On July 19, the farmer ready to promote 270.95 quintal (100 kg every) of corn at a fee of Rs 1,240 per quintal to 2 traders, Subhash Vani and Arun Vani.

The traders belonged to adjoining Khetia village throughout the border from Maharashtra, in Madhya Pradesh’s Barwani district. The whole transaction worth was mounted at Rs 332,617, in response to Bhoi’s criticism earlier than the subdivisional Justice of the Peace of Pansemal tehsil, which HT has seen.

The traders picked your complete produce, making a token fee of Rs 25,000 and promising to pay the remainder inside 15 days. In his criticism, the farmer enclosed receipts of the transaction exhibiting the excellent quantity.

Bhoi approached authorities within the first week of October, after funds have been delayed by practically 4 months. “A clerk I know in the local market alerted me to this provision in new laws brought by the government. He said traders must now pay within three days. I then decided to file a complaint,” Bhoi instructed HT over cellphone.

According to Section 8 of The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, “The Sub-Divisional Authority shall decide the dispute or contravention under this section in a summary manner within thirty days from the date of its filing and after giving the parties an opportunity of being heard…”

Simply put, in case of fee disputes between a farmer and a dealer in new free markets supplied for by the current legal guidelines, a Justice of the Peace should settle the transaction row inside a month.

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Acting on the farmer’s criticism, authorities traced the traders, summoning them on October 6. They confronted prospects of prison motion, together with arrest. “After studying the case, listening to the farmer, and going through documents, it has been ordered by me that the buyers must make immediate payments owed to the farmer,” the Justice of the Peace’s closure report filed earlier than collector Shivraj Singh Verma on November 5 stated.

The proceedings compelled traders Subhash Vani and Aun Vani to renegotiate the entire pending quantity to barely lower than initially agreed, paying the new excellent in two instalments. The case was closed on November 4.

“Dispute resolution at the local magistrate’s level helps avoid the hassles of approaching courts. But it’s really a question of how aware farmers are,” stated Anand Yagnik, a lawyer who efficiently fought a case in 2018 in opposition to suppliers of sub-standard cotton seeds to growers in Maharashtra’s Yavatmal.

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