The Punjab food and civil supplies department has decided to end paddy procurement on November 30. When procurement season started on October 1, it was decided to run operations till December 15. The move, according to the sources in the food department, would entail a saving of ₹64 crore, which the government would have had to pay as interest for using the cash credit limit for 15 more days.
Officials told HT that the decision was taken keeping in view the paddy procurement trends of the previous three years, where it had been observed that after November 30 (till December 15), arrivals were negligible.
“Hence, we decided to pre-pone the season. I request all farmers to bring their produce to the market within ten days,” said a senior officer in the department, adding that it apprehended bogus billing to mix recycled rice with the freshly-shelled rice from paddy of the current season.
Food and civil supplies minister Bharat Bhushan Ashu said that earlier the paddy procurement during Kharif Marketing Season 2019-20 was slated for October 1-December 15, 2019 but it had been changed. “There is, however, no change in the milling schedule,” he added, saying that in Amritsar, there had been no arrival of paddy for the past two days.
On procurement, the minister added that 161 lakh tonne of paddy that had arrived in mandis till November 19, of which the government purchased the major chunk, of 159.8 lakh tonne and rest 1.11 lakh tonne was bought by private millers. Payment of ₹26,947 crore has been transferred to the accounts of arthiyas and farmers.