In a relief for paddy growers of Punjab, the central government on Friday relaxed norms for crop procurement for the ongoing kharif marketing season.
The crop had suffered damage due to inclement weather. Procurement agencies have been reluctant to procure crop which has higher damage level and higher moisture content. Top officials of the Punjab government say the 'belated' relaxation is applicable from November 1, when 80% of the crop has already been procured.
Top officials in the Mandi board revealed on Friday that the Centre raised the acceptable level for damage and discolouration of the paddy crop. Discolouration percentage has been relaxed from 4% to 7% and damage percentage from 4% to 5%. The relaxation came with the condition that the level for damaged and shrivelled crop should not go above 5%.
The relaxation was announced after a team from the central government visited the state and took paddy samples from grain markets.
However, the norm for moisture content remained unchanged despite farmers demanding it be raised from 17% to 20%.
As per reports, farmers at several places are forced to sell crop at Rs 1,000-1,200 per quintal as against the MSP of Rs 1,345.
During the assembly session on Friday, the opposition Congress also raised the issue that procurement agencies were offering much less price than the MSP (minimum support price).
Reports of damage to crop came from the districts of Amritsar, Tarn Taran, Jalandhar, Kapurthala, Nawanshahr, Patiala, Gurdaspur, Pathankot, Fatehgarh Sahib, Rupnagar, Sangrur and Bathinda. As per reports, relaxation is applicable in these districts.