Punjab to begin paddy procurement

Chandigarh: Despite the delayed monsoon in the region, official agencies in Punjab are all set to begin paddy procurement in the state Monday (Oct 1). They are hoping to procure a record 150 lakh tonnes of paddy this season, an official said Sunday.

“The state government is fully geared up to clock the highest ever target in the state. Arrangements have been made for procurement of 150 lakh tonnes of paddy in 1,770 notified purchase centres,” a state government spokesman said here. The process will begin Oct 1.

On a request of the Punjab government, the Reserve bank of India has sanctioned a cash credit limit of Rs.16,674 crore for the month of October and the remaining limit would be released next month. Punjab had sent request for cash credit limit amounting to Rs.22,509.90 crore for the procurement of paddy by the state agencies.

He said that strict instructions have been issued that payment to the farmers be made within 48 hours after lifting their produce. Paddy would be lifted within 72 hours of purchase, he added.

The state agriculture department has projected 163.68 lakh tonnes of paddy production from an area of 28.10 lakh hectares sown under crop this year.

He said the procurement agencies would purchase paddy at the minimum support price (MSP) of Rs.1,250 per quintal for common and Rs.1,280 per quintal for Grade ‘A’ during the current ‘kharif’ season against the MSP of Rs.1,080 and Rs.1,110 per quintal for these varieties during 2011-12.

The bulk of the paddy crop is expected to arrive after Oct 15.

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