Chandigarh: Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi on Thursday requested the Centre to withdraw its order postponing paddy procurement in the state.
The chief minister also sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s intervention in the matter.
The Centre has delayed the procurement process in Punjab and Haryana, citing the recent heavy rains.
The department of food and public distribution of the Government of India in a letter to the FCI said that due to recent heavy downpour, the maturity of paddy has been delayed and the moisture content in the fresh arrival at present is beyond permissible limit.
According to the letter, the procurement of paddy would now start from October 11 in Punjab and Haryana. The paddy procurement usually commences from October 1.
Channi requested Prime Minister Modi to advise the ministry to withdraw its letter forthwith, thus allowing the state to start paddy procurement from October 1 instead of October 11, according to an official statement.
He said the decision to postpone the paddy procurement at the eleventh hour would further lead to resentment amongst the farmers, who were already agitating against the farm laws.
The CM said the state is all set to start procurement of paddy from October 1 as scheduled earlier and now these instructions would unnecessarily create confusion and uncertainty in the minds of farmers, who will start bringing their crops in various mandis across the state from Friday.
Channi also informed the prime minister that Punjab Food and Civil Supplies Minister Bharat Bhushan Ashu has already reviewed arrangements for the paddy procurement.
Channi also mentioned that he had personally reviewed the preparedness on Wednesday to ensure smooth and hassle-free procurement in the state and was fully satisfied with the elaborate arrangements made.
Meanwhile, the Shiromani Akali Dal condemned the decision of the Centre to postpone the procurement of paddy.
The paddy procurement was to be done wef (with effect from) tomorrow. This decision is totally anti-farmer & aimed at teaching the farmers a lesson. This decision must be revoked, tweeted SAD leader Daljit Singh Cheema.
Haryana BKU (Chaduni) chief Gurnam Singh Chaduni on Thursday said that farmers will protest outside the houses of MPs, MLAs and other leaders of the ruling BJP-JJP combine in the state if the government fails to begin paddy procurement on October 1.
“We want to warn the Khattar government that they should start procurement from October 1. If they fail to do so, we will lay siege to homes of the BJP-JJP MLAs, MPs and their other leaders, Chaduni said.
He asked the farmers to take their tractor trollies and unload the crop outside the homes of the BJP-JJP leaders, if the government fails to begin procurement on Friday.
“We had earlier said if paddy procurement cannot start from September 15, then it should not be delayed beyond September 25. Paddy has already arrived in mandis. Where will farmers store it, besides the weather has also been inclement in recent days, Chaduni said.
“The government had earlier said that it will start procurement from October 1, but now they are saying it will begin from October 11. The government is doing all this when our agitation against central farm laws is going on, he said.
Keeping in view the interest of farmers and to avoid any inconvenience to them, the ministry has decided that the procurement of paddy under the minimum support price would commence from October 11 in these two states, it said.