The Punjab and Haryana high court has directed the Centre and Punjab government to hold a meeting of top officials within a week to finalise the mechanism for the procurement of maize under the minimum support price (MSP) scheme of the Centre.
The direction came from the division bench of justices SK Mittal and MS Chauhan after the hearing on the issue in which the Punjab and Central governments blamed each other on the failure of authorities in procuring various crops under the MSP scheme.
Top officials of the food and public distribution department and Union agriculture ministry, Food Corporation of India and the Punjab government officials of the department of agriculture will meet in a week to find a solution with regard to smooth procurement of maize in Punjab. The high court is to be apprised of the decision on August 28.
Earlier, the Centre blamed Punjab for non-procurement of sunflower seed in the state under MSP saying it was the state's duty to apprise the Centre of the estimation of procurement of sunflower crop in the state, which it did not do. It was also said that Punjab was also required to arrange working capital for the procurement and waive mandi tax. It was alleged that the state did not participate in the meetings held by the Centre with various stakeholders, assistant advocate general, Punjab, Chetan Mittal, told the high court.
On the other hand, Punjab advocate general Ashok Aggarwal submitted that Punjab was not in a position to procure the sunflower. "It is their scheme. They have to make arrangements for procurement. Payments are delayed and it was state's officials who had to deal with the farmers," he told the court, categorically stating that the state would not make procurement on the conditions laid down.
Seeing that no side was ready to budge, the high court did not pass any order with regard to sunflower, observing that the procurement season was already over.
The court asked both the Centre and state to make proper arrangements for procurement of maize.