Amid piling debts, Punjab govt initiates process to wind up Punsup
As per the proposal, Punsup will be merged with Punjab state grains procurement corporation (Pungrain), which majorly includes 1,500 staff and assets such as its headquarters in Chandigarh and food grain storage godowns in the state
Amid piling debts to the tune of ₹ 1,400 crore, the Punjab government has started the process to wind up food procurement body – Punjab state civil supplies corporation (Punsup).
“Very soon, the state cabinet will discuss the matter to give an in-principal nod, as a cabinet memorandum has been sent for the approval of finance department,” said secretary food and civil supplies Gurkirat Kirpal Singh.
Chief minister Bhagwant Mann had recently asked the administrative secretaries to identify such state managed board, corporations and public sectors undertakings which could go for a winding-up process to lessen the burden on state coffers.
As per the proposal, Punsup will be merged with Punjab state grains procurement corporation (Pungrain), which majorly includes 1,500 staff and assets such as its headquarters in Chandigarh and food grain storage godowns in the state.
“The assets of the Punsup are being evaluated and a company secretary is being engaged to facilitate the merger process,” said an officer in the food department, adding that there is a large number of pending cases in different courts that would also be dealt by the corporation.
Major portion of the liabilities on Punsup are due to the public distribution system (PDS) under which atta (wheat flour) and dal was given to below poverty line beneficiaries in the state at a rate of ₹ 4 and 20 per kg respectively during the tenure of the Akali-BJP government from 2007 to 2017.
Punsup was set up in 1974 as a government-owned company for procuring farmers’ produce, wheat and paddy, at a minimum support price fixed by the Centre, providing foodgrains and other essential commodities to the weaker section on subsidised rates, providing the items of daily use and LPG to the consumers on lesser rates than prevailing in the market. The corporation runs fair price shops across the state.
After winding up of Punsup, there will be three state run agencies for food grain procurement- Pungrian, Markfed and state ware housing corporation.
Punjab agro foods corporation to be merged too
Also, in the list of winding up is Punjab agro foods corporation (PAFC) – a subsidiary of the state’s food and civil supplies department, which was divested of the food procurement duties two years ago.
With a liability of ₹ 400 crore, PAFC will also be merged into Pungrain.
Wheat flour supply scheme tenders to open today
The state food and civil supplies department will open tenders for supplying wheat flour to about 1.83 crore beneficiaries of the national food security act (NFSA) on Monday.
On assuming power, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in the state announced to give an option to the beneficiaries to choose wheat or wheat flour.
The tenders were floated by the newly formed Punjab State Cooperative Marketing Society Limited for inclusion of delivery services and listing of flour mills for grinding of wheat.
It may be mentioned that under NFSA, the beneficiary currently gets wheat at ₹ 5 per kg per month, which will now be replaced by flour, and according to the government, the step is to reduce economic burden on the NFSA beneficiaries and ensure they get monthly wheat flour.
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