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Amarinder to meet Arun Jaitley over funds for wheat procurement in Punjab

CM cancels transportation, labour tenders finalised by the Badal regime for wheat procurement, orders fresh tenders; makes DCs in-charge of procurement instead of deputy directors food dept

punjab Updated: Mar 21, 2017 20:11 IST
Gurpreet SIngh Nibber
Gurpreet SIngh Nibber
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
About 125 lakh tonnes of wheat expected to arrive in 1,800 mandis of Punjab this season.(HT File Photo)

As wheat will start arriving in the mandis in another 10 days and the state government is yet to receive Rs 20,800 crore from the Centre in the form of the cash credit limit (CCL) for the procurement, chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh will take up the issue with the Union finance minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday.

About 125-lakh tonne wheat is expected to arrive in 1,800 mandis of Punjab this season.

“We are waiting for the CCL and all arrangements at our end are ready. We have squared the accounts of previous rabi procurement of 2016, which is mandatory for release of the CCL. We expect that CM’s meeting with the FM will be fruitful,” food and civil supplies secretary Roshan Sunkaria told HT.

Since the paddy procurement in 2014 when the Centre had pointed out a mismatch to the tune of Rs 31,000 crore in money released and grains procured, securing funds for procurement of grains became a tough job. Now, the Punjab government is at the final stage of settling the issue by converting the said amount into a long-term loan payable in 20 years.

CM cancels transport, labour tenders

Capt Amarinder Singh on Monday cancelled all the labour and transportation tenders finalised during the previous Akali-BJP government for the wheat procurement. The new government had announced to put under review the decisions of the previous government taken during the last six months. CM is the in-charge of the food and civil supplies department.

Referring to comptroller and audit general report that had pointed irregularities in the procurement and logistics related to it, a functionary in the Congress government hinted at a probe once the procurement got over.

In another decision, Amarinder asked deputy commissioners to supervise the procurement, which in the Akali-BJP government was looked after by the deputy directors of food and civil supplies department.

In the meeting, Amarinder asked DCs to receive tenders by March 24 and open them the next day to finalise the logistics by April 1, when the two-month procurement process begins.

“We will finalise all logistics by the given time, because we have now 22 DCs against 6 deputy directors. Also, now the entire system has been de-centralised,” Sunkaria told HT. Other than Sunkaria and DCs, chief principal secretary to chief minister, Suresh Kumar, and chief secretary Karan Avtar Singh, were also present in the meeting.

First Published: Mar 20, 2017 22:16 IST