CM formally kick-started paddy procurement operations from Chamkaur Sahib
The Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Singh Mann on Tuesday formally kick-started paddy procurement operations in the state from Chamkaur Sahib and directed the Food, Civil Supplies & Consumer Affairs department to ensure smooth and hassle-free procurement during the current Kharif Marketing Season began from October 1.
“We are committed for procuring every single grain of the farmers and for the first time in history of state lifting has started from the very first day which itself is a record” said the Chief Minister while interacting with the farmers.
The Chief Minister reiterated that the procurement, lifting and payment will be done on the same day with digitization of the entire process. He also started the new digital payment initiative with a click of the button and transferred the payment of paddy to a farmer. Urging the farmers to stop the cultivation of PUSA-44 and other related varieties of paddy, Bhagwant Singh Mann said that cultivation of these varieties should be stopped and the state government has already decided to ban these varieties from the next season.
The Chief Minister said that these water guzzling varieties takes maximum time to reap and produces stubble in great manner. Bhagwant Singh Mann said that the problem of lifting will be resolved with use of the ultra tech techniques such as GPS in trucks. He said that 654 new Rice Shellers has started their operation after ease of norms by the state government.
The Chief Minister said that the distribution of flood compensation already started and damage of every penny will be paid by the state government. He informed that the state government has ample fund in State Disaster Fund to compensate the damage caused by floods. Bhagwant Singh Mann asked the Food and Civil Supplies Department, the nodal agency for the procurement operations, to ensure all necessary arrangements for smooth, prompt and seamless procurement and storage of paddy.
Reiterating his government’s firm commitment, the Chief Minister said that every single grain of the farmers’ produce would be procured and lifted from the market. Bhagwant Singh Mann said that strict adherence to the prescribed norms of timely payment to the farmers would be ensured. He said that for the first time in the history of state, Punjab has already received Cash Credit Limit of Rs 37,000 crore for the ensuing paddy season before commissioning of the procurement.
The Chief Minister said that the state had demanded Rs. 42000 crore as CCL from the Union government for the procurement but so far received Rs. 37000 crore against the demand. He said that the State Government will leave no stone unturned in ensuring smooth procurement during the current paddy season to the satisfaction of all the stakeholders. Bhagwant Singh Mann informed that elaborate arrangements have already been put in place to procure the expected Paddy arriving in the mandis of the state.
Urging the farmers to shun the practice of stubble burning, the Chief Minister said that new equipments are being given to farmers for in situ and ex situ management of the crop residue. He said that the state government has already mandated for brick kilns to use stubble as fuel as well as other plants to buy stubble from farmers. Bhagwant Singh Mann demanded from the Union Government to remunerative solutions for farmers to stop the practice of stubble burning.
The Chief Minister asserted that the state government has raised the issue of DAP with the Union Government and three Lakh Metric Tonne of DAP has been received with this initiative. He said that the state government has demanded from GoI to raise the export price of Basmati. Bhagwant Singh Mann said that this is the need of the hour as we have decided to push crop diversification further so the hike in price would be proved beneficial for this.
The Chief Minister said that with the stupendous efforts of the state government, the area under Basmati cultivation have been increased at the extent of 21 percent. He informed that the Government of India had fixed Minimum Support Price Rs. 2203 per quintal for the Kharif Marketing Season (KMS) 2023-24. Bhagwant Singh Mann said that four State procurement agencies, viz Pungrain, Markfed, Punsup, Punjab State Warehouse Corporation, along with FCI, are being procuring paddy on Minimum Support Price as per the specifications laid down by the Government of India.
The Chief Minister further said that 1854 Purchase Centers have been notified by the Punjab Mandi Board and have been allotted amongst the government procurement agencies. Bhagwant Singh Mann asserted that necessary arrangements of required gunny bags and covers (Tarpaulin) for storage of paddy have been completed well before time. He said that Mafia be it drugs, sand or Land grabbing will not be tolerated on the land of Punjab.
The Chief Minister said that during the Kharif season a target of 182.10 lakh metric ton has been set by the state government. He said that out of this 173 lakh metric ton will be purchased by the state agencies. Bhagwant Singh Mann said that the state government has 4.86 lakh bails of jute available with it adding that the rest will be managed by the millers.
The Chief Minister said that the technique of biometric authentication has been introduced to safeguard the interests of farmers bringing the grains to Mandis. He said that in order to bring transparency in lifting of the grains online gate passes will be issued to the vehicles. Bhagwant Singh Mann said that by October 2, around 68000 metric ton paddy has arrived in Mandis which is 48% more than last year.
On this occasion Cabinet Minister Lal Chand Kataruchak and others were present.