Chandigarh, September 26:
Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has directed the Food Department to obtain all receivables from GoI and FCI at the earliest, to ensure that the Cash Credit Limit (CCL) is availed in time for the smooth procurement of Paddy.
The Chief Minister was reviewing the arrangements for the procurement season, beginning from October 1, according to an official spokesperson.
With 29.20 Lakh hectares of area under paddy cultivation, Punjab is targetting procurement of 170 Lakh Metric Tonnes, requiring CCL to the tune of Rs. 34,500 Crores in Kharif Season 2019-20, said the spokesperson.
Directing the Principal Secretary Food & Supplies to liaison with the Central authorities, Captain Amarinder also asked the Food Department, the nodal agency for the procurement operations, to ensure all necessary arrangements for storage of paddy stocks, especially in view of the inclement weather forecast for next week.
The Chief Minister reiterated his Government’s firm commitment to lift every single grain of the farmers’ produce from the market, in a smooth, prompt and hassle-free manner, while strictly adhering to the prescribed norms of timely payment.
Referring to the Paddy Purchase Policy for KMS 2019-20, the meeting was informed that the Food, Civil Supplies & Consumer Affairs Department had already issued ‘The Punjab Custom Milling Policy for Paddy (Kharif 2019-20)’ for paddy processing, after approval from the Council of Ministers.
The Food and Supplies Minister apprised the Chief Minsitser that necessary arrangements of required covers (Tarpaulin) for storage of paddy would be done in a timely manner. The Punjab Mandi Board has notified 1734 Purchase Centers and allotment of Purchase Centers amongst the procuring agencies, to be done before the commencement of KMS 2019-20. FCI makes its own arrangements of gunny bales, cash credit, stock articles and storage space.
The Government of India has fixed Minimum Support Price Rs. 1835 per quintal for grade 'A' paddy and Rs. 1815 per quintal for common variety Paddy for this season. Four State procurement agencies, viz Pungrain, Markfed, Punsup, PSWC, along with FCI, will procure paddy on Minimum Support Price as per specification laid down by the Government of India.
During the previous KMS 2018-19, a total of 170.18 LMT paddy was procured, of which 169.10 LMT paddy was procured by Government agencies, while traders/millers procured only 1.08 LMT. During KMS 2019-20, State Agencies will procure 161.50 LMT paddy and FCI will procure 8.50 LMT paddy.
Prominent amongst those present during the meeting included Food & Supplies Minister Bharat Bhushan Ashu, Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal, Media Advisor to CM Raveen Thukral, Chief Secretary Karan Avtar Singh, Principal Secretary Finance Anirudh Tewari, Principal Secretary to CM Tejveer Singh and Special Principal Secretary to CM Gurkirat Kirpal Singh.