| Farmers burn jute at Gauripur in Dhubri on Sunday. Picture by UB Photos |
Dhubri, Aug. 26: Jute growers in lower Assam districts, particularly Dhubri and Bongaigaon, have urged the government to buy their produce at the support price through the regional Jute Corporation of India to break the stranglehold of the syndicates who offer them extremely low prices.
Nearly 500 jute growers of Dhubri district had protested against the syndicates at Gauripur yesterday and asked the government to start buying jute at the support price.
The syndicates offer much lower prices between Rs 500 and Rs 1,500 per quintal which does not even cover their cost of production. Jute growers said the cost of growing one quintal jute comes to around Rs 2,000.
Mohiruddin Shiekh, a grower who led the protest, alleged that the jute centre should have started purchasing their produce two months ago but till the end of this month, there was no such move.
There are six jute-buying centres Dhubri, Gauripur, Kaldoba, Lakhiganj, Abhayapuri and Patiladoh under the corporation, covering Dhubri and Bongaigaon districts, a source said.
We are helpless jute growers running from pillar to post to sell out our produce. Buyers in the open market have formed syndicates that are offering much lower prices. How can we sell? Sheikh asked. He said they demand the minimum support price, between Rs 2,500 and Rs 3,500 per quintal, of various jute grades.
The senior assistant, officiating, of the Regional Jute Corporation of India at Dhubri, Barun Mondal, told The Telegraph that they could not begin the purchase on time because of the absence of a few officials at the regional office and at the six buying centres.
We should have started buying jute after August 15. But we will start buying at the Gauripur centre soon, within a couple of days, he added.