Paddy procurement: RBI hikes Punjab’s cash credit limit by 3%
The Reserve Bank of India on Monday allowed an enhanced cash credit limit of ₹43,297.88 crore to Punjab for purchase of paddy.
Earlier, the state was allowed a cash credit limit (CCL) of ₹35,000 crore, which was later enhanced to ₹42,000 crore.
In the current season, 188.26 lakh tonne paddy has arrived in the mandis for procurement so far, out of which 187.21 lakh tonne has been purchased by the four state agencies — Pungrain, Punsup, Markfed and state warehousing corporation — and the Food Corporation of India. The remaining, around one lakh tonne paddy, was purchased by private traders.
“Against ₹35,600 crores worth of paddy purchased, we have so far made ₹35,211-crore payments to the farmers by crediting the minimum support price into their accounts,” said an officer of state’s food and civil supplies department.
The hike in CCL is also being seen as the Centre’s nod to relax the cap on paddy purchase in Punjab, though no formal order has been received yet.
Ahead of the procurement, the Union ministry for food and public distribution system had capped paddy purchase from Punjab to 168.65 lakh tonne. However, after the arrivals exceeded this limit, the state government sought the Centre’s nod to relax this cap.
“We are still to get a formal nod (for increase in paddy purchase targets). The increase in CCL indicates that the Centre has agreed to our demand,” said Punjab food and civil supplies minister Bharat Bhushan Ashu. He said the government has to make payments on accruals on the paddy purchase as well, which include labour and transportation charges and dami (commission) to arhtiyas.
As the state government was still to receive a provisional cost sheet from the Centre, the labour, transportation and dami are yet to be finalised. “We are expecting the cost sheet any day now,” said a food department officer. In recent years, the Centre used to provide the provisional cost sheet to the state government before the start of every procurement season.
“We are pushing the Centre to send us the provisional cost sheet so that we should have a fair idea on what expenditure is allowed to us over and above the procurement,” said the officer. Other than labour, transportation and dami, rural development fund and mandi fee is also mentioned in the cost sheet.
With 11,000 of the 90,000 subsidised machines supplied to farmers over the last four years for in-situ stubble management missing, the Punjab agricultural department has decided to rope in the vigilance bureau to look into the matter and take action. The loss incurred has been pegged at ₹140 crore, as per the agricultural department's preliminary investigation. It is likely that action will be taken against machine manufacturers, dealers, users and some department officials.
A day after three men were arrested with arms and explosives, police on Wednesday said the accused would send money earned from the sale of drugs to their Pakistan-based handlers through hawala channel. Their car, a Mitsubishi Lancer, was also impounded. The arrested accused had also been in contact with head of banned outfit International Sikh Youth Federation, Lakhbir Singh Rode. Rode is suspected to be living in Lahore.
Long queues of people waiting to get their work done were witnessed at the head post office near the mini secretariat due to the absence of staff, while the other post offices including Model Town, Miller Ganj, Focal Point and central post office remained closed altogether. The employees on strike included postmen, clerical staff, multi-tasking staff and gramin dak sevaks.
Police on Tuesday arrested a husband-wife duo for allegedly stealing ₹3 lakh from the account of their landlord, who is a non-resident Indian using Jarnail Ram's ATM card. He accused Manmeet Kaur of stealing the ATM card and withdrawing around ₹3 lakh over multiple transactions after allegedly catching him doing so on one occasion.
Police's Crime Branch 1 and 2 arrested three men after recovering 10 kg poppy husk and 30 gm and 100 gm heroin respectively from their possession. In the first case, a team of Crime Branch 2 led by inspector Beant Juneja, Crime Branch 2 in-charge, arrested Rajpal Singh, 57, of Giaspura with 10 kg poppy husk at a check post near Rose Garden in Giaspura. Police are currently working on arresting an alleged drug peddler, Harpreet Singh, 28, of Tajpur village.