Despite opposition from the Punjab government, the Centre on Wednesday decided to impose value cut on damaged wheat procured from the state. However, the state government later announced that the value cut would not be passed on to the farmers, while deciding that the latter would get the minimum support rice (MSP) of `1,450 per quintal for their produce.
Much to the displeasure of the state government, the Centre has asked Punjab to consume damaged wheat within the state. The Punjab cabinet, which met here on Wednesday, was unanimous that farmers in the state should be given full MSP and kept unaffected by the value cut. Chief minister Parkash Singh Badal chaired the meeting.
The announcement of value cut came after a meeting of Punjab food and civil supplies minister Adaish Partap Singh Kairon with Union minister of consumer affairs, food and public distribution Ram Bilas Paswan in New Delhi. Last week, the Union ministry had announced value cut on damaged wheat procured from Haryana. At that time, Punjab had said that the move would set a wrong precedent.
An order by the Union ministry said, “In order to reduce the hardship of farmers and to avoid distress sale of wheat, it has been decided to procure wheat in Punjab with the following relaxations in uniform specification... the limit of shrivelled and broken grain is relaxed up to 10% against the existing limit of 6% under uniform specifications, with the value cut.”
It added that one-fourth (Rs 3.63 per quintal) of the full value cut (`14.50 per quintal) for every additional relaxation of 2% or part thereof would be imposed on wheat having shrivelled and broken grain in the range of 6-8%; for 8-10%, value cut of Rs 7.25 per quintal would be deducted.