Chandigarh, September 29: The Punjab Chief Minister Mr. Charanjit Singh Channi on Wednesday directed the Food, Civil Supplies & Consumer Affairs department to ensure smooth and hassle-free procurement of paddy during the current Kharif Marketing Season beginning from October 1.

While reviewing the arrangements and preparedness for the Paddy procurement season at a high level meeting, the Chief Minister asked the Food and Civil Supplies Department, the nodal agency for the procurement operations, to ensure all necessary arrangements for smooth, prompt and seamless procurement and storage of paddy.

Reiterating his government’s firm commitment, Mr. Channi said that every single grain of the farmers’ produce would be lifted from the market and strict adherence to the prescribed norms of timely payment to the farmers would be ensured.

Meanwhile, the Food & Civil Supplies Minister Bharat Bhushan Ashu assured the Chief Minister that the department will leave no stone unturned in ensuring smooth procurement during the current paddy season to the satisfaction of all the stakeholders.

Taking part in the deliberations, Director Food & Civil Supplies Dr. Abhinav Trikha informed the Chief Minister that elaborate arrangements have already been put in place to procure the expected Paddy arriving in the mandis of the state.

Briefing the Chief Minister, Director Food & Civil Supplies informed that the Government of India had fixed Minimum Support Price Rs. 1960 per quintal for grade ‘A’ paddy for the Kharif Marketing Season (KMS) 2021-22. Four State procurement agencies, viz Pungrain, Markfed, Punsup, PSWC, along with FCI, will procure paddy on Minimum Support Price as per the specifications laid down by the Government of India.

He further apprised that 1806 purchase centers notified by the Punjab Mandi Board have been allotted amongst the government procurement agencies. Further, in order to curb the spread of Covid-19 pandemic and avoid glut in mandis, nearly 800 rice mills/public places are being set up as temporary purchase centers for procurement of paddy. The procurement policy for KMS 2021-22 has been issued after due approval of Food & Civil Supplies Minister.

The Chief Minister was also informed that necessary arrangements of required gunny bales and covers (Tarpaulin) for storage of paddy would be done in a timely manner. FCI makes its own arrangements of gunny bales, cash credit, stock articles and storage space.

Outlining the measures to curb recycling of rice/paddy, Mr. Trikha informed that detailed instructions have been issued to all the field officers to analyse data of Mandi wise arrivals of Paddy during the last three years as well as the Release Orders issued mandi wise, maintain close vigil on the mandis and linked rice mills where paddy arrivals or the paddy issued under Release orders increased significantly in KMS 2020-21 over the last two years, ensure that the CCTVS are installed in each rice mill and are in working condition, enter data of rice millers engaged in private milling of basmati, sella etc on the Anaaj Kharid portal at the time of allotment and lay special emphasis on PV of these mills. A special E-Physical verifications of Rice Mills before the procurement season to ensure that there is no unaccounted paddy/rice in the mills has been undertaken and Guardians of Governance (GoGs) have been engaged to undertake checking of rice mills.

Referring to the Paddy Milling after procurement, the Director also informed that the Food & Civil Supplies Department had already issued ‘The Punjab Custom Milling of Paddy Policy (Kharif 2021-22)’ for paddy processing, after due approval of the Council of Ministers.