The Punjab government Wednesday slashed the security amount to be deposited by the rice millers for milling of paddy. The millers would be required to deposit only Rs 7.25 lakh instead of earlier Rs 10 lakh. The entire amount would be refundable. Earlier, only Rs 5 lakh was refundable.
The decision was taken during a meeting of Food Minister Bharat Bhushan Ashu and Rural Development Minister Tripat Rajinder Singh Bajwa with the millers.
After the meeting, the ministers said the move would bring relief for the millers. A government statement said that the rice millers who apply before October 10, would be allotted paddy on priority and without pro rata cut, and the quantum of the release orders of those millers would also be increased. The rice mills, which opened last year and the year before, would be treated as old mills.
Due to shortage of space, if the miller is not able to deliver rice, he would not have to pay any interest, said Ashu.
He said that only one particular group with vested interests is on strike and is trying to misguide other millers, due to which out of total around 4000 rice mills in the state, only 1500 have been allotted work till date.
To allay the apprehensions of the millers regarding shortage of space, he reiterated the commitment of the state to create space. He also informed that the Food Corporation of India (FCI) has planned a movement of 7 lak metric tonne (LMT) rice every month, which shall lead to sufficient creation of space in the near future.
Centre approves Rs 26,707 credit limit for paddy purchase
The Centre on Wednesday sanctioned the Cash Credit Limit (CCL) of Rs 26,707.50 crore for the procurement of paddy in the Kharif marketing season 2019-20 for the month of October.
An official spokesperson said the amount has been released by the RBI towards credit limit till end of October 2019.
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had been personally pursuing the issue of early release of CCL with central government to ensure timely payment to farmers against their crop, a spokesperson said.
Expressing satisfaction at the pace of procurement, Amarinder directed the food minister to ensure prompt lifting of the produce and release of payments to farmers within the stipulated timeframe.
As of today, a total of 3,26,839 metric tonnes of paddy has been procured by state procurement agencies, with PUNGRAIN purchasing 1,27,575 MTs, followed by MARKFED (80025), PUNSUP (48387) and PSWC (38116). FCI has purchased 5627 MTs.
Amarinder has reiterated his government’s commitment to facilitating smooth and hassle-free procurement in the Mandis across the state. With 29.20 lakh hectares of area under paddy cultivation, Punjab is targeting procurement of 170 LMT in the ongoing season, which began on first of this month, said the spokesperson.
Elaborate arrangements had been made to provide hassle free procurement experience to farmers bringing their produce to mandis. The Punjab Mandi Board has already notified 1734 Purchase Centers for seamless procurement of paddy, the spokesperson added.
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, the state agencies will procure 161.50 LMT paddy and FCI will procure 8.50 LMT paddy.