Kharif procurement: Centre rejects Punjab’s revised paddy arrival estimate of 190 lakh tonne for CCL
The Union ministry of food and public distribution has rejected the Punjab government’s revised estimate of total paddy arrivals of 190 lakh tonne for releasing extra cash credit limit (CCL) for the upcoming procurement season starting October 1.
Even as the fresh estimates were submitted by the state agriculture department after it predicted a bumper crop, the Centre has only allowed the CCL against the old estimate of 170 lakh tonne.
The issue was flagged in a meeting with Union food and public distribution secretary Sudhanshu Pandey, who was in Chandigarh to meet the state food and civil supplies department officials last week. The previous kharif paddy procurement had broken all arrival records with 203 lakh tonnes of paddy purchased.
“We are asking the Centre to send CCL as per the revised estimated so that there is no problem at a later stage,” said a food and civil supplies department official.
State food and civil supplies secretary Gurkirat Kirpal Singh will meet the officials of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in Mumbai on Wednesday for timely release of CCL. He is expected to raise the matter with the central bank management.
On receiving the CCL, the state’s procurement agencies such as Pungrain, Punsup, Markfed and the State Warehousing Corporation will start purchase of grain on behalf of the Centre and then hand over the shelled rice to the Food Corporation of India (FCI), a central agency that drives public distribution system in the country.
Officials said the Centre has agreed to release CCL to the tune of ₹42,000 crore to procure 170 lakh tonne paddy while ₹46,950 crore is needed as per the fresh estimates.
The CCL includes minimum support price (MSP) of ₹1,940 per quintal besides 8.5% taxes that include 3% rural development fund and mandi fee each and 2.5% to arhtiyas.
Grain starts reaching mandis
Sporadic arrivals of paddy have started in the mandis of Punjab. According to reports, mandis in Khanna, Amritsar, Tarn Taran, Patiala, Fatehgarh Sahib and Mohali have witnessed the crop arrival. The arrivals started since September 20, but slowed down due to rainfall last week.
Due to the rain, the maturing of grain was delayed. “We are expecting arrivals to pick up pace by October 5,” said a mandi board official.
Amid the pandemic, the board has extended operations (procurement facilities) at 3,000 sites. “There are 1,872 mandis in the state and we have extended operations to 1,200 more locations, designated rice mills and open spaces for procurement operations,” adds the official.