The Punjab government has sought enhancement of credit limit from the Reserve Bank of India so that payment could be made to farmers in view of the bumper paddy production in the agrarian state this year which led to higher procurement by government agencies.
State Food and Civil Supplies Minister Adaish Partap Singh Kairon on Saturday said the RBI had sanctioned a limit of Rs.18,972 crore for paddy procurement this year. This was later enhanced to Rs.20,608 crore.
The minister, who had a meeting with a delegation of arhtiyas (commission agents) here on Saturday, said the Punjab government has urged the RBI to enhance the limit to Rs.25,225 crore so that pending payments to arhtiyas and farmers could be released.
Against the 119 lakh tonnes of paddy procured last year, government agencies procured over 140 lakh tonnes of paddy this season (October 1 to December 15).
Kairon assured the arhtiya federation that payments would be made latest by January 8.
Following the minister’s assurance, Vijay Kalra, president of the Federation of Arhtiya Association, agreed to call off the protest rally planned on December 28 at Jagraon, 40 km from Ludhiana.
With just 1.54 percent of the country’s geographical area, Punjab contributes over 50 percent of food grains to the national kitty.