Three days after the wheat procurement season commenced in Punjab, the state is yet to receive the Cash Credit Limit (CCL) as the Ministry of Finance now wants it to update its accounts of the previous kharif season. The state government had cleared its dues pertaining to last Rabi season on March 16 after Captain Amarinder Singh, took over as the Chief Minister, and directed the finance department to clear Rs 270 crore to ensure CCL for wheat procurement was sanctioned in time.
However, sources in the finance department said the Centre had asked the state to update the accounts of the kharif season as well. The functionaries of the department said it is an “harassment” by the Centre as the paddy procurement season end in May.
“After all five agencies procure paddy in September every year, the process of milling and filling of godowns goes on till May as it requires time. There is no way to keep the accounts updated till the entire rice reaches the godowns. Huge amounts of rice are still lying with the millers,” said a functionary.
As the CCL is caught up in the “wranglings” between Centre and state, Finance Secretary Anirudh Tewari, who was transferred to the department on Saturday went to Delhi on Monday to get the CCL released.
Amarinder has already taken up the matter twice with Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet Badal too met the Union Finance Secretary three days ago to get the CCL released. “It should be released by today or tomorrow. There is no need to panic as the procurement season would start full throttle only around April 9,” said Badal.
He added they were expecting a yield of 105 lakh MT but they were prepared for lifting 120 lakh MT. Punjab had sought an advance of Rs 20,660 crore from the Centre for the procurement. Sick of the delay, the state government is even mulling following the Harayana way to procure the grains.