Physical checking at mandis as paddy target exceeded in Punjab - ECAS Punjab

Physical checking at mandis as paddy target exceeded in Punjab

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Ruchika M Khanna

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 9

With paddy procurement in Punjab far exceeding the estimated targeted, much beyond the claimed 10 per cent increase in productivity, the Food and Supplies Department has started physical verification of mandis where surplus paddy arrivals have been recorded in the ongoing paddy season.

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Anandita Mitra, Director, Food and Supplies

Action taken on complaints

Checks are being done following complaints that rice mills got release orders for paddy to be bought inter or intra district, but no physical purchase was done.

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The department has also started conducting checks on rice mills, which received paddy on release orders, to ensure the stocks of paddy purchased by these through release orders are physically present in their stocks.

"This has been done following complaints that rice mills got the release orders for paddy to be bought inter or intra district, but no physical purchase was done," said Anandita Mitra, Director, Food and Supplies.

In the complaints received by the department, it was alleged mill owners, in connivance with commission agents of mandis from where they were to receive paddy on release orders, showed the purchase on behalf of procurement agencies on paper.

While the minimum support price (MSP) of Rs 1,888 per quintal was alleged to have been pocketed by them, the mills got cheaper paddy (at the rate of Rs 800-Rs 1,000 per quintal) from outside the state and stocked it to show it as the paddy purchased through release orders. Behind, the government was suspected to have increased the limit of paddy to be allotted to mills under the release order scheme, between 375 metric tonne and 2,000 metric tonne.

Mitra said though they were sure it was not possible as all processes for getting release orders were transparent and done online, upon receiving some complaints, they immediately swung into action and started getting physical verification of the mills done.

"The department has already verified all such rice mills in Fazilka district and most of the mills in Sangrur. Checking of such mills in Patiala is under way. So far, we have not found any mill where the stocks were short," she said, adding in a case where rice meant for the public distribution system was found, the mill was immediately blacklisted and FIR registered.

The Director, Food Supplies, said they were also getting checks conducted in all mandis that had seen an unusually high arrival of paddy. "Nineteen such mandis were examined today. We have observed that this phenomenon is more prevalent in mandis near the Haryana border. It is assumed Punjab farmers are not going to Haryana to sell their produce because of the Covid guidelines, but are selling it here," she said.

182.98 LMT procured

  • Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, says paddy production has gone up by 10%. Agriculture dept's initial estimate of market arrival of paddy was 164 lakh metric tonne
  • With a 10% higher productivity, the arrival should stand at 180.4 LMT. To date, the state has procured 182.98 LMT paddy. An average of 3.50 LMT is arriving in mandis every day


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