Days after making provision for direct payments into the verified accounts of farmers, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Tuesday said about 9 per cent interest (bank rate plus one percent) would be paid to the farmers if their payments are delayed during the upcoming Rabi season commencing from 1 April.

Presiding over a review meeting of officers engaged in the upcoming procurement season today, the CM said farmers must receive payment of their procured produce within a stipulated time period. “Any delay in payment would not be tolerated. Responsibilities should be fixed to ensure that farmers are timely paid,” said Khattar.

During the meeting, the CM also reviewed the arrangements being made for the smooth procurement of crops and directed the concerned departments and procurement agencies to ensure that farmers do not face any inconvenience while selling their produce in different mandis (grain markets) across the state. “Hassle- free and timebound procurement should be ensured by making advance scheduling plans so that farmers do not face any problems” directed Khattar.

The CM said in view of the sudden surge in Covid-19 cases, like last year, the required number of procurement centres should also be increased ensuring hassle free procurement. Procurement of wheat and mustard would commence on 1 April while procurement of other crops would commence on 10 April.

The CM while giving directions regarding strengthening of Mandi system said that along with making timely arrangements for availability of labourers in the Mandis, adequate number of weighing scales, gunny bags, sewing machines, etc should also be ensured.

“Suitable transportation arrangements should be made for lifting of the crops from the Mandis on time and if any transporter fails to lift the crops within 48 hours, then the Deputy Commissioners should remain ready with any alternative transport arrangements,” directed Khattar.

During the meeting, additional chief secretary, food civil supplies and consumer affairs department, Anurag Rastogi said this time payment module has been made a part of “e-Kharid” and several banks will be empanelled for this purpose.

Rastogi shared the advance directions regarding timely lifting of the crops, smooth functioning of the procurement process and ensuring that no Arhtiya (commisison agens) or farmer faces any problems.

He informed standard operating procedures have been issued to every deputy commissioner for strict implementation throughout the procurement season. Besides this, health safety arrangements have also been made in advance to minimize health risk to those engaged in procurement operations.

The deputy commissioners have been directed to ensure Covid-19 safety protocols are strictly followed at each procurement centre, Rastogi informed.