The biggest ever paddy procurement exercise in Asia began across Punjab and Haryana Wednesday, food and supplies officials of both states said.
In Punjab, paddy will be procured at 1,802 centres, set up by the state government across the state. The state government has made arrangement to procure over 140 lakh tonnes of paddy this time.
The paddy arrival and procurement is likely to pick up in the Oct 10-15 period as the crop is harvested and brought to the grain markets.
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has sanctioned a cash credit limit of Rs.18,451 crore for the month of October to the Punjab government.
The state government had requested for cash credit limit amounting to Rs.23,248.26 crore for the procurement. The remaining limit would be released next month.
"The state government has made arrangements to ensure hassle-free procurement in the state," Punjab Food and Supplies Minister Adesh Pratap Singh Kairon said.
"Strict instructions have been issued that payments to the farmers have to be ensured within 48 hours after lifting of the paddy from the purchase centres," Kairon said.
The central government has fixed the minimum support price (MSP) for paddy at Rs.1,400 per quintal for Grade A and Rs.1,360 per quintal for common variety of paddy.
Kairon appealed to farmers to bring dry, clean and fully matured paddy to the grain market so that procurement could be hassle-free.