The procurement of paddy rice in the state began on Sunday even as the government waited for Cash Credit Limit (CCL) for purchasing around 182 lakh tonnes of produce this season. Punjab government has demanded Rs 33,000 crore CCL from Centre for purchasing paddy.
With delay in release of CCL, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder’s promise of making payments in 48 hours after selling of crop to farmers is likely to face difficulties. There are around 152 mandis (grain markets) across the state apart from around 1700 other procurement centres for the purchasing the crop.
Punjab Mandi Board officials said that till date there is no news that when the CCL will be released to the state by the Reserve bank of India (RBI). This despite the Punjab government depositing Rs 1098 crore after Centre has asked the state to settle the account pertaining to the previous CCL advanced to the state to procure wheat for the central pool.
“Even if the clearance comes from RBI in a day or two, then too it will take around a week or 10 days to make payments to the farmers as there is a process to follow,” said Punjab Arhtiya Association President Ravinder Singh Cheema, adding that paddy has started reaching in the manidis of a around a dozen districts of the state, including Khanna, the biggest grain market in Asia. Farmer Resham Singh said: “We have brought our crop to the mandis today and perhaps it will be sold by tomorrow.”
This year the MSP for the paddy is Rs 1590 per quintal. “But farmers sell it at less rate to the private players, instead waiting for days or weeks after selling to the government agencies,” said another farmer Ajmer Singh at Jalandhar grain market. Meanwhile, Jalandhar Deputy Commissioner Varinder Sharma Sunday inaugurated procurement at Jalandhar grain market. He said that around 78 mandis/purchase centers have been notified for the procurement of paddy in the district.