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Wednesday, December 08, 2021

Punjab: Verification teams formed after Kapurthala mandis record 100% paddy arrival

The food civil supplies and consumer affairs department suspects that paddy might have been imported from other states and sold in these markets.

Written by Anju Agnihotri Chaba | Jalandhar |
November 1, 2021 11:21:06 am
At a market in Punjab (Express photo by Jasbir Malhi)

The Punjab food civil supplies and consumer affairs department has started a verification process after the local grain markets of Kapurthala mandis record 100 per cent paddy (non-Basmati) arrival. The department suspects that paddy might have been imported from other states and sold in these markets.

Deputy commissioner (DC) Kapurthala, Deepti Uppal, has formed 10 teams to verify the arrival of paddy in these 10 mandis — Khalu, Baler Khanpur, Bharolanga, Kamalpur, Bharoana, Paramjit Pur, Marripur, Dhaliwal Bate, Bhandal Bate, and Ramidi. The estimate of paddy arrival in any mandi is calculated as per the area under paddy crop around the mandi and its potential arrival.

Teams comprising the officials from the agriculture department, revenue department, and Punjab Mandi Board will verify the arrival, read the letter issued by the deputy commissioner.

The sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) Kapurthala and Sultanpur Lodhi are also asked to include Guardians of Governance (GoGs) to check these mandis and if required, they can also form more checking teams at their level.

Agriculture officials said that the entire paddy harvested cannot be sold by farmers in the mandis as they have to keep some amount for self-consumption as well as seed purposes.

Illegal paddy transporting from other states has been going on despite the food department’s effort to stop it.

A rice sheller owner said, “several rice shellers are involved in bringing paddy from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar at a cheap rate like Rs 1,200-1,300 per quintal to sell the same here at Punjab mandis at the rate of MSP which is Rs 1,960 per quintal”.

This time the central government has already told the state that it will procure only 170 lakh tonnes of paddy from Punjab. If the state’s quota set by the Centre is completed before harvesting is completed in the state, the farmers may lose out. The state government has, however, asked the centre that it may receive 190 lakh tonnes of paddy in its mandis. Last year, 203 lakh tonnes of paddy was procured from Punjab but this year with more than one lakh hectare area less under paddy crop, the procurement will also be less.

Recently, more than 5,000 quintals of rice worth over Rs 1 crore has been recovered after a two-day raid at the premises of a Kapurthala-based Gopal Rice Mill. Recovered rice was meant for Public Distribution System (PDS) and was brought from other states to Punjab during paddy harvesting in the state just to sell it again to the government at the MSP rate.

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