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HindustanTimes Sun,21 Sep 2014

79 dist mandis in set for paddy procurement

Rajeev Bhaskar, Hindustan Times  JALANDHAR, September 30, 2013
First Published: 20:38 IST(30/9/2013) | Last Updated: 20:40 IST(30/9/2013)

Mandi board has established 79 mandis in the district to produce expected arrival of 8.78-lakh MT of paddy during the procurement season, which began on October 1.

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"We have set up 79 mandis including 75 at permanent venue and four at makeshift places, where the necessary facilities including power connection and drinking water are there for visiting farmers," district mandi officer, Harinder Randhawa told HT.

Although appropriate arrangements have been made in 75 mandis, in four temporary mandis at Bhode Samrai village, where a diary farm has been converted into a mandi, Jamsher, where panchayat has provided land on temporary basis and Kang Khurd and Mehrajwala villages of Lohian Khas, some problems are still on, but efforts have been taken to provide basic amenities on temporary basis in such mandis too, he added.

Minimum support price (MSP) has been declared by the union government as `1310 per quintal for normal paddy and `1345 per quintal for 'A' grade paddy, Randhawa said.

While taking round of the main grain market of the district by HT team, it was found that paddy has already started arriving in the city and farmers are spending night in the mandi itself waiting for early procurement on the first day.

However, in spite of the claims of Mandi Board for making elaborate arrangement for paddy procurement, it is not likely to be a smooth affair, as rice millers have threatened not to participate in the procurement process, if relaxation in specification of paddy is not given.

"I have visited several mandis and paddy fields for inspection of the crop and it are found that due to rain, standing crop of paddy was damaged resulting in its discoloring," said president of the Punjab Rice Millers Association, Rakesh Jain.

He added that unless relaxation in the specification of the crop is announced, it is not possible for the rice millers to participate in the process.

The association has called a meeting of the general house on October 2, in which final decision on participation in the procurement process would be taken, he added.

Distribution share among the six procurement agencies has already been decided, according to which Pungrain will procure the maximum share of paddy of 25% followed by Punsup (23%), Markfed (22%), Punjab Warehousing Corporation (11%), Punjab Agro (9%) and Food Corporation of India (10%) in the district.

District food and civil supplies controller, Rakesh Singla said last year total procurement of paddy was 7.85-lakh MT and this year 8.78 -lakh MT is expected.

As far as allotment of paddy to the rice millers is concerned, out of total 67 rice mills in the district, so far 41 have been tied up for the storage and milling, he said.

"Although, bumper crop was expected in this season, but recent spell of heavy rain has ruined at least 10 to 15% of the standing crop," Singla said.

All the procurement agencies have been provided with the required gunny bags and they have also made appropriate arrangements of lifting as well as storage of paddy, he added.

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