October 6, 2017 12:14:42 am
Five days after paddy procurement officially began in Punjab, government agencies have procured 7.48 lakh tonnes of paddy worth Rs 1200 crore. But so far no money has been released to the farmers, despite a promise by CM Amarinder Singh to do so within 48 hours. Mandis in the state had received 8.32 lakh tonnes of paddy worth Rs 1300 crore after procurement began on October 1.
Punjab Mandi Board (PMB) officials said that even after the release of CCL, which happened on Thursday, it will take some more days to complete the process and make payments to farmers. “Daily we have been receiving 1.5 lakh to 2 lakh tonnes of paddy in the mandies across the state and on October 5 itself 1.94 lakh tonnes of paddy reached the mandies. This figure will increase in the coming days, when the peak season would start from the next week,” said a senior PMB official.
He added that this year the government was expecting to procure around 182 lakh tonnes through six government agencies, including the FCI and five state agencies like PUNSUP, MARKFED. Along with farmers, around 25,000 commission agents and lakhs of labourers too are waiting for their payments. “We sold 200 quintals paddy worth Rs three lakh on October 1, but till date no money has been paid and there is no hope of getting the same during next week,” said a farmer, Harjinder Singh, from village Jamsher. “Every time we have to wait for weeks and sometimes months to get our payments,” said another farmer, Sohan Singh Onkar, from Randhwa Masanda village. Federation of Arhtiya (Commission Agent) Association Punjab President, Vijay Kalra, said that after CCL’s release it will take at least a week for the money to hit farmers’ accounts.
He said that the payment to farmers is done by the arhtiyas as the cheques are issued by the government in the name of arhtiyas, who then pay farmers.
Currently the Minimum Support Price (MSP) is Rs 1590 for grade ‘A’ paddy and around Rs 1510 for other grades of paddy. But farmers are selling it at maximum Rs 1615 per quintal and at minimum Rs 1210 per quintal in the mandies depending upon quality and moisture level in the paddy grain.
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