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Paddy procurement begins in Punjab
Naveen S Garewal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
Punjab today started the procurement of paddy two days ahead of schedule, anticipating a bumper harvest. Special arrangements have been made throughout the state to ensure that all paddy arriving in mandis is lifted without delay and payments cleared to the farmers within 48 hours of the lifting of the paddy. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has advanced a credit limit of Rs 13,000 crore to Punjab to ensure immediate disbursal of payments to farmers.

Additional Director Food and Supply and the nodal officer for paddy procurement in Punjab, H.S Sidhu told The Tribune that though procurement agencies have set base in each of the 1622 centres set up in Punjab, today the procurement mainly took place in the western region of the state, that is in Amritsar, Tarn Taran, Ferozepur, Gurdaspur, Bathinda, Muktsar and Faridkot etc. In these areas the mandis recorded a procurement between 1000 metric tonnes and the highest in Ferozepur division, 39,824 metric tonnes. It is expected that the first day’s procurement will touch around 76,923 metric tonnes.

To ensure smooth lifting of the crop, the state government has banned transfers of all officials involved with the procurement process. Instructions have been issued that no leave applications from those officials will be entertained till December 31. The procurement process will continue uninterrupted even on Sundays and holidays, according to sources.

The Government of India had asked Punjab to advance the procurement process by two days from October 1, keeping in view the bumper crop that is likely to cross 150 lakh metric tonnes. Currently, the government is targeting a collection of 125 lakh metric tonnes during the current Kharif season by the six procurement agencies involved in the process.

According to Sidhu, a new grievance-redressal mechanism has been put in place for the first time whereby committees comprising farmers, officials, representatives of procurement agencies and arhtiyas have been formed at every centre. These committees have been empowered to take on- the-spot decisions to ensure continuous and smooth procurement.

Proper provisional reserve registers are being maintained to record the name of the farmers, father’s name, arhtiya’s name, amount of paddy sold, as part of the procedure to ascertain the exact procurement. There will also be readiness to disburse the bonus, if any, announced at a later date to the actual farmer. Each paddy bag will have a label putting out the name of the mills that will receive the said bag.

As per the target, Pungrain would procure 37.50 lakh metric tonnes (30 per cent) of paddy, whereas the FCI would procure 12.50 lakh metric tonnes (10 per cent). Similarly, Markfed and Punsup would procure 25 lakh metric tonnes each and the Punjab Warehousing Corporation would procure 15 lakh metric tonnes, leaving Punjab Agro to procure another 10 lakh metric tonnes at a MSP of Rs 880 for “A” grade and Rs 850 for the common variety of paddy.

All district food and supply controllers and district mandi officers have been issued instructions to make requisite arrangement of power, sheds for the farmers, portable water supply and equipment to monitor the quality of paddy in each procurement centre.



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