Punjab deputy commissioners accountable for paddy procurement

Chandigarh, Oct 18, 2010 (Calcutta Tube) Deputy commissioners across Punjab will be held accountable for paddy procurement in the state, Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal said here Saturday.

The announcement came following mounting complaints received by the state government that paddy procurement, which started Oct 1 in 1,670 procurement centres across Punjab, was not being done properly, leading to farmers being harassed at grain markets.

Badal called a meeting of Chief Secretary S.C. Aggarwal, senior food and supplies officials and deputy commissioners here Saturday and gave instructions that all steps be taken to ensure proper procurement of paddy crop.

Punjab is expecting another bumper paddy crop of over 140 lakh tonnes this year. Procurement is likely to go on till November end.

Aggarwal said over 37.12 lakh (3.71 million) tonnes of paddy had been procured in Punjab.

Badal said he was receiving complaints regarding slow lifting of paddy crop, with procured crop choking the grain markets.

The chief secretary explained that due to the ordinance of the government not to sow paddy crop before a certain date, the total paddy crop has matured on the same day resulting in a paddy glut in the grain markets.

He said the field staff was working day and night to lift the procured crop within the stipulated 72 hours of procurement and payment was being made to the farmers within 48 hours of lifting of procured paddy.

Interacting with the deputy commissioners, Badal asked the chief secretary to make them accountable for smooth procurement of crop.

Badal said: ‘The Punjab government is committed to procure every single grain of paddy brought by farmers to the mandis (markets) and it is the bounden duty of every official of procurement agency to ensure hassle-free procurement.’

He said the Reserve Bank of India had already approved a credit of Rs.140 billion (Rs.14,000 crore) for payment to be made for the paddy procurement this year.

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