Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi on Friday requested the Centre to help the state in getting authorisation of Cash Credit Limit (CCL) for the Kharif Marketing Season 2021-22 from the Reserve Bank of India expeditiously.
Keeping in view the coming Kharif season, the Chief Minister had detailed deliberations which lasted for one-and-a-half hours with the Union Secretary, Food and Public Distribution, Sudhanshu Pandey, who called on the former at his office here, according to an official statement.
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During an interaction with the Chief Minister who was accompanied by the Deputy Chief Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, the Union Secretary complimented the enormous contribution of Punjab in the national food pool in terms of both wheat and paddy.
Acceding to the request of the Chief Minister to allow current procurement of paddy according to the previous norms, Pandey informed him that the Government of India has already taken a decision to procure paddy in the state as per the existing norms during paddy season starting from October 1. The Chief Minister informed that for future also, the revised norms should only be finalized by taking all the stakeholders including the Punjab government and associations of farmers', arthiyas and mills into confidence as imposing these unilaterally would mean a great setback to the state.
Expecting a bumper paddy crop during the current season, the Chief Minister told the Secretary that the Centre has fixed a target for procurement of 170 lakh metric tonnes of paddy. However, as per state agriculture production estimates, 191 lakh metric tonnes of paddy is expected during the kharif marketing season 2021-22 for which the elaborate arrangements are already being made.
Showing concern over the slow movement of food grains stacked in the state godowns, the Chief Minister asked the Union Secretary to immediately tie up with the railway authorities to get these godowns vacated so that additional space could be created for the storage of fresh rice. Responding to this issue, the Union Food Secretary informed the Chief Minister that Chairman, Railway Board has already allowed 70-80 racks daily for transporting food grains from Punjab to various destinations across the country.
Channi further said Punjab has been experiencing unprecedented rains for the last 10 days and as per metrological predictions, it is expected that the same would be continue for another spell of 5-7 days. Due to vagaries of nature, it is expected that some quality issue may arise at the time of harvesting. Therefore, the Chief Minister requested the Union Secretary to allow the relaxation in norms instantly, if need be.
Pandey also held a meeting here with the Punjab officials to review paddy procurement arrangements during the upcoming season.