Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Thursday urged the Centre for timely release of Cash Credit Limit (CCL) for the ongoing paddy procurement season in the state, following which Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan assured him of time-bound resolution of all pending issues.
The Union Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution assured the Chief Minister of the immediate release of balance reimbursement of Rs 500 crore towards ID (infrastructure development) cess and purchase stock on wheat (2017-18), Amarinder Singh told the media in New Delhi after their meeting.
Punjab has sent a CCL proposal of Rs 40,300 crore to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) for the purchase of paddy in this Kharif season.
Punjab has set a target of procuring 200 lakh tonnes of paddy this season that began on October 1.
“While we are making every effort to ensure smooth procurement of paddy and early release of pending payments by the Ministry, the Food Corporation of India will help us make timely payments to farmers and minimise, if not fully eliminate, avoidable stress to them,” the Chief Minister told Paswan.
The Chief Minister said that due to the Centre’s alleged delay in taking decisions on the pending issues, Punjab was facing financial constraints to fill in the gap in the Food Cash Credit Account, which was likely to cause delay in sanctioning of CCL for ongoing paddy procurement.
The Chief Minister also raised the issue of smooth transportation of grain stored in Punjab and urged Paswan to direct the FCI to expedite such movement to enable creation of space for fresh arrivals.
He said that he would meet the Railways Minister and seek more trains to speed up the transportation of foodgrains outside the state.
Procurement of one lakh quintals of grain had already been done in Punjab this season, Amarinder Singh said.
He said that the state was hopeful of controlling the stubble-burning menace to an extent by providing machines/equipment to farmers on subsidised rates.
“The law to check the menace was already in place and action would be taken, as needed,” he added.
‘Green Revolution’ state Punjab contributes 50 per cent of the foodgrains to the national kitty despite having just 1.54 per cent of the country’s geographical area.