Arhatiyas In Punjab Demand Signed Blank Cheques, Aadhaar Cards From Farmers: ReportA wheat crop (/AFP/Getty Images)

Farmers from various parts of Punjab have raised the alarm that the middlemen (arhatiyas) in the state are demanding signed blank cheques and Aadhaar cards from them to process the sale of their produce to the Government agencies, reports Indian Express.

This comes after the Centre asked the state government to directly transfer the money to farmers' bank accounts for procurement of their produce at minimum support price (MSP), thereby bypassing the Arhatiyas.

The move has reportedly irked the arhatiyas, who earlier used to receive the payments from the government agencies on the behalf of the farmers and then used to pass it on to them after deducting a commission.

Arhatiyas are said to be demanding blank signed cheques and Aadhaar cards from farmers against the payments of the loan that they have taken.

If the farmers refuse to give blank signed cheques, the Arhatiyas have reportedly been threatening that their produce will not be auctioned in the mandi.

Bathinda based farmer leader Jagsir Singh who belongs to Bharatiya Kisan Union's (BKU) Ugrahan faction has also said that several farmers had approached them and informed them about the demand.

"We have stopped them from doing so and asked them to wait till the time our senior leaders takes a decision on the matter," Jasgir was quoted as saying.

He however added that the arhatiyas were worried that farmers won't pay them back after getting direct payment from the government.

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