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Punjab’s basmati movement portal to monitor influx from outside the state

The state’s Mandi Board now makes it mandatory to declare every paddy/basmati consignment from outside in advance so that procurement on MSP is not hampered.

Written by Anju Agnihotri Chaba | Jalandhar |
Updated: October 16, 2021 8:22:33 pm
paddyEvery year, Punjab faces a huge inflow of paddy and basmati from outside the state, but this year such free movement will hamper procurement operations on MSP and affect genuine basmati rice shellers.

With the freezing of paddy procurement limit, the Punjab government has been forced to take a major step to monitor the influx of paddy-parmal (non-basmati) from outside the state. The Punjab Mandi Board (PMB) has now launched an Inter-State Basmati Movement portal on which basmati rice shellers established in Punjab and importing basmati-paddy and basmati-rice into the state are required to declare details of the consignment in advance i.e., before commencement of the vehicle’s journey from the place of supply anywhere in India.

Every year, Punjab faces a huge inflow of paddy and basmati from outside the state, but this year such free movement will hamper procurement operations on MSP and affect genuine basmati rice shellers.

The decision of the Punjab government comes after the Centre froze paddy procurement limit to 170 lakh metric tonnes this year, while the state government sought to enhance it to 190 lakh metric tonnes.

A letter issued to District Mandi Officers (DMOs) by the PMB Secretary on Saturday revealed that mandatory use of the portal by basmati rice shellers is expected to help stop the influx of paddy/basmati from outside. In case paddy from other states manages to reach Punjab and gets sold at MSP before the state’s paddy is sold in mandis, then there could be a situation that the upper cap fixed by the Centre for purchasing paddy from the state at MSP might get breached. This would put the state government under pressure to find a way to purchase the unsold crop. This is more significant considering that the Vidhan Sabha elections are just a few months away.

The PMB has directed basmati rice shellers that vehicle drivers are required to have the Vehicle Tracking System (VTS) switched on from the time of commencement of journey and drivers must carry the ‘token’ generated through the PMB portal along with the other documents.

No basmati consignment will be allowed entry into the state without registration on the portal. It may be noted that for consignments already in movement on the date of issue of the instruction, the basmati rice sheller should register it on the portal, provide the driver with the token generated and ensure that the driver has switched on the VTS.

“After verification of the token and VTS details, the vehicle should be allowed to commence journey to the designated registered basmati mill. This portal/app will show the GPS-enabled movement of basmati trucks in the state. Login IDs will be provided to the nominated district officials so that these consignments can be monitored through this app, the details of which shall be shared shortly,” a DMO said.

However, for the time being, instructions said DMOs will ensure 100 per cent inspection of basmati rice shellers for whom consignments come in from other states. The checking of such mills shall be done within 24 hours of the truck crossing the state border. Established checking posts are required to ensure speedy transmission of the basmati consignment data to the DMO of the destination district for verification within the prescribed time-frame, said the issued letter.

Last year, Punjab procured 203 lakh tonnes of paddy and this time the state expects to procure 190 lakh tonnes, which is already 20 lakh tonnes more than the Centre’s proposal which may be revised. In such a situation, excess paddy from outside would create a huge loss to the state’s farmers.

Local traders and rice shellers are involved in bringing paddy at low rates between Rs 1,100 to 1,400 from UP, Bihar and selling it at MSP rate, thereby making huge profits while wrongly showing such paddy under Punjab’s production.

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