Chandigarh, Oct 1 : Procurement of paddy officially began in agrarian states Punjab and Haryana on Monday though bare amounts of the crop arrived in the hundreds of grain markets across both states.
Punjab has sent Cash Credit Limit (CCL) proposal of Rs 40,300 crore to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) for the purchase of paddy.
With the retreating monsoon rains lashing Punjab and Haryana in the past 10 days, the harvesting of the paddy crop has been delayed in most areas.
Farmers are worried that the untimely rains could lead to higher moisture content in the paddy.
"The moisture content parameters were specified before the rainfall (September 22-25). The rainfall has affected the standing crop. Farmers could suffer due to this," farmer Sukhdev Singh of Fatehgarh Sahib district said.
Punjab is targeting a procurement of 200 lakh tonnes of paddy this kharif season.
The procurement process is likely to continue till November 30. Bulk of the paddy stocks is expected to arrive in grain markets from October 10 to November 10.
Punjab Food and Civil Supplies Minister Bharat Bhushan Ashu has directed all the heads of the state and central procurement agencies to supervise the paddy procurement operations across the state to ensure prompt lifting of paddy as per their allotted share of procurement.
Ashu appealed to farmers to bring dry, clean and fully matured paddy to the mandis. In all, 1,834 purchase centres have been set up across Punjab.
"All out efforts are being made to ensure smooth, hassle free and quick procurement of paddy and facilitate farmers in getting timely payment of their produce," he said.
The central government has fixed the minimum support price (MSP) for paddy at Rs 1,770 per quintal for 'Grade A' and Rs 1,750 per quintal for common variety of paddy.