Newly-appointed Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi on Thursday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to advise the Ministry of Food & Public Distribution to immediately withdraw its letter for postponement of paddy procurement to October 11.
The Chief Minister's Office appealed to the prime minister to allow Punjab to start procurement operations from October 1.
The Centre on Thursday postponed procurement of kharif paddy in Punjab and Haryana till October 11 as the crop maturity is delayed owing to recent heavy rains.
Paddy procurement for 2021-22 kharif marketing season in Punjab was to commence from October 1, while in Haryana it officially started from September 25.
The procurement operation is undertaken by the central government's nodal agency Food Corporation of India (FCI) along with state agencies.
"It has been reported that due to recent heavy downpour in Punjab and Haryana, the maturity of paddy has been delayed," Union Food Ministry said in a statement. 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.
All the agencies have been directed to take necessary action to undertake procurement of paddy with the effect from October 11 in Punjab and Haryana, it added.
The Centre has fixed minimum support price (MSP) of Rs 1,960 per quintal for grade 'A' paddy, while Rs 1,940 per quintal for common grade paddy for 2021-22 kharif marketing season.
Punjab is a major contributor to the central pool as on an average over 100 lakh tonne of rice is procured from this state.
From Haryana, less than 45 lakh tonne of rice is purchased during a kharif marketing season.
(With inputs from PTI)