Delay in paddy procurement in the interest of farmers: Centre

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New Delhi, 01 October: The Central Government has said that the decision to start procurement of paddy under Minimum Support Price (MSP) in Punjab and Haryana from October 11 has been taken in the overall interest of farmers and consumers.

The Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution issued a statement on Friday saying that this decision has been taken with a view to ensure quality procurement for lakhs of consumers under the Public Distribution System (PDS) of the National Food Security Programme.

The ministry said that there is a possibility of damage to the rice grain due to the purchase of paddy with high moisture. Along with this, there will be a risk of shrinking, darkening, changing colour and becoming vulnerable to infection.

The government stated that the Haryana government had also written a letter to the Food and Public Distribution Department under the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, informing about the unseasonal rains, requesting to give relaxation in the moisture content of paddy.

In view of this, on the basis of moisture content test by FCI Regional Offices in Punjab and Haryana, it was stated that against the permissible limit of 17 per cent in paddy samples, the moisture content in Punjab is 18 to 22 per cent and Haryana 18.2 to 22.7 per cent.

According to the ministry, after receiving information related to moisture, to avoid inconvenience to farmers and to protect the interest of farmers, the Government of India has decided that the procurement of paddy under MSP operation will start from October 11 in Punjab and Haryana and all agencies it has been advised to be ready to help the farmers.

It is noteworthy that Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi today met Prime Minister Modi and demanded immediate purchase of paddy crop.