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October, 2008



Senior most officers told to "leave Chandigarh" and function from field

Chandigarh October 14, 2008

The Punjab Chief Minister Mr.ParkashSingh Badal today ordered that paddy procurement operation in the State be put on a war footing. The Chief Minister has directed the State Chief Secretary Mr.Ramesh Inder Singh and other top ranking officers to leave Chandigarh immediately and personally supervise ;procurement operation over the next three months.

The Chief Minister's strict directions came at the end of an hour long meeting to to review the arrangements of paddy procurement throughout the state here this morning.

Giving details of the meeting, Chief Minister's Media Advisor Mr. Harcharn Bains said that the officers had been categorically told to treat their respective zones as their operational head quarters, and "not even to think of showing me your face in Chandigarh till the last grain of paddy is lifted". No war could be won if the Generals stayed back home" said Mr.Badal. The officers who have been especially deputed to oversee procurement operations are the Principal Secretary to Chief Minister, Financial Commissioner Development, Principal Secretary Food & Supplies, Director Food & Supplies and Director Agriculture, Managing Director, Markfed, Managing Director, Pungrain, Warehousing Corporation and Secretary Mandi Board. They had also been asked to constitute supervisory teams involving officers from the concerned districts in consultation with the local Deputy Commissioners.

Mr. Bains said out that Principal Secretary to Chief Minister Mr. D.S. Guru who had already visited Mandis in Barnala, Bathinda, Muktsar, Ferozepur, Faridkot, Moga, Ludhiana and Ropar will now visit the Mandis in Amritsar, Tarn Taran, Gurdaspur, Jalandhar, Kapurthala and Hoshiarpur within next couple of days.

The Media Advisor said hat the total procurement of paddy this year was likely to exceed 145 lac MT. He said that 40.27 lac MT of Paddy had been procured till October 13 out of which 35.75 lac MT had been procured by the government agencies that is Pungrain, Markfed, Punsup, Punjab State Warehousing Corporation, Punjab Agro and FCI. Besides, the private Millers had procured 4.52 lac MT of paddy.

Mr. Bains said that between 75 and 85% of paddy procured had already been lifted and 90 to 95 percent of concerned farmers had been given the payment for their produce. He said so far Sangrur District toped in paddy procurement with 100% following Moga (98%), Gurdaspur (92%) Ludhiana (97%), Muktsar (87%) Bathinda (86%), Kapurthala (85%), Jalandhar (85%), Patiala (80%) ,Ferozepur (75%), Faridkot (73%). The paddy arrivals in Amrisar, Tarn Taran, , Ropar and Nawanshahar district was expected to pickup by the next week.

Writes letter to Union Agriculture & Food Minister Sharad Pawar

Chandigarh, October 14, 2008

Shiromani Akali Dal President Mr. Sukhbir Singh Badal today called upon the Central Government to immediately announce a Bonus of Rs. 300 per quintal to mitigate the sufferings of paddy farmers in the State.

In a letter to Union Agriculture and Food Minister Sharad Pawar, who himself hails from a farming background, the SAD President stated that Punjab's farmers had risen to the nation's clarion call and put in their blood and sweat to produce record harvests this year. In response to the Government of India's appeal, the State's farmers had contributed over 30 lacs MT extra Wheat to the Central pool as against last year. "This extra procurement from Punjab had contributed significantly in ensuring the nation's food security at a time when we are witnessing global food shortages and very high international food grains prices", he added.

Mr. Sukhbir Badal however, lamented that "it was a matter of great regret that the State's farmers have not been given commensurate returns by the Central Government. We have demanded a MSP of Rs. 1400/- quintal to ensure adequate returns to the farmers in view of the rising input costs. I request you to kindly come to aid of our beleaguered farmers by immediately announcing a Bonus of Rs. 300/- per quintal" he stated.

He further exhorted the Union Government to relax the ban on the export of non-Basmati rice in view of the bumper paddy crop and adequate buffer food grains stocks. The Punjab farmers may be allowed to seek benefit of the high prices in the international market to help mitigate their suffering and to help usher in rural prosperity, said Mr. Sukhbir Singh Badal

The SAD President also urged the Union Food Ministry to send a team to Punjab to examine the problem of high moisture content due to late rains in the region. Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had also attempted to meet Sharad Pawar on Monday in Delhi to raise these demands but the latter was out of station at the time

40.27lac tonnes of Paddy procured in Punjab

Chandigarh, October 14, 2008

Paddy procurement by six government agencies and traders crossed 40 lac tonnes in Punjab.

An official spokesman today said that PUNGRAIN procured 9, 41,185 tonnes of paddy (26.3%) whereas MARKFED procured 8, 52,883 tonnes of paddy (23.1%). PUNSUP procured 8, 25,057 tonnes of paddy (23.1%) whereas Punjab State Warehousing Corporation procured 4, 82,068 tonnes of paddy (13.5%) besides 4,50,086 tonnes of paddy (12.6%) procured by Punjab Agro. The Central Government Agency FCI procured only 49,919 tonnes of paddy (1.4%). The Millers procured 4, 52,839 tonnes of paddy (11.2 %) by Monday.

The mandis in Amritsar Division recorded 13, 68,355 tonnes of paddy with Kaprthala recording maximum paddy by Monday to the tune of 3, 24,159 tonnes. The mandis of Ferozepur division recorded 21, 11,837 tonnes of paddy with maximum of 8, 04,643 tonnes of paddy being recorded by Ferozepur district.

Six government agencies have paid over Rs. 2046.11 crores for paddy procured by agencies during first 14 days of current Kharif Marketing Season. The spokesman said that farmers of the State are being made payment of paddy procured by the government agencies within 48 hours of lifting of paddy from the procurement centres.

The Punjab Food Supply had setup 1622 procurement centres throughout the state to ensure smooth procurement of paddy.



Daily Punjab press release