HC seeks fresh response from Centre, Punjab on maize procurement
The Punjab and Haryana high court has sought fresh response from the Centre and the Punjab government on the procurement of maize under the minimum support price (MSP) scheme.
During the hearing, the Punjab government produced a 2015 letter, wherein the central government had stated that the Food Corporation of India (FCI) should be informed in advance about the proposed procurement.
The letter also stated that the procured maize could also be used for the public distribution system (PDS). The Punjab government told the court it did not have money for procurement and if the procurement was for the central pool, then central agencies should be roped in.
As of the procurement for the PDS, the state government said the people are disinterested in getting the crop under the PDS system.
The court also asked the central government counsel to clarify on how on one hand the Union government was saying that crop should be procured for the central pool and at the same time also wanted the state to use it for the PDS.
“Procure it so that farmers do not suffer. It does not matter, whether it is put in central pool or utilised somewhere else,” the high court observed coming down heavily on both central government and Punjab stating that farmers were incurring losses and the Centre and state were busy in blame game.
Later, the court asked Punjab as well as Central government to tell by the next hearing as to how they plan to procure maize from farmers. The matter will be taken up on August 23.
The matter had reached court as a Kurukshetra resident sought court intervention alleging that farmers were incurring heavy losses as government agencies have failed to procure crops in Punjab and Haryana despite the fact that the minimum support price had been announced by the central government.