C'garh CM urges Centre to raise rice procurement limit

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Raipur, Jan 29 (PTI) Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel on Friday urged the Centre to raise the state's rice procurement limit under the central pool to 40 lakh metric tonnes, from the current 24 lakh metric tonnes, during the current kharif marketing season in the interest of farmers, an official said.

In a letter to Union Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Piyush Goyal, Baghel said that if the Centre does not allow an increase in the Food Corporation of India's (FCI) rice procurement limit in the ongoing season, the state is likely to suffer losses worth Rs 2,500 crore.

He also said that the state government has not been providing bonus to farmers on procuring their paddy in the state, the public relations department official said.

The Centre had earlier categorically said that it could not purchase excess paddy from those states that are giving bonus and incentives to farmers.

Baghel said that as on Thursday, 90 lakh metric tonnes (LMT) of paddy had been procured from 20.29 lakh farmers at minimum support price (MSP) in the state and the drive is scheduled to conclude on January 31.

'Paddy cultivation is the main source of livelihood for the people of the state. In the Naxal-affected areas, registration of farmers, who are holding forest rights certificates, was also done and their paddy produce is being procured, which is helping in eliminating the Maoist menace,' he said in the letter.

Earlier, the Centre, during a meeting of the food secretaries, had given in-principle consent to take 60 LMT of rice in the central pool from Chhattisgarh in the KMS 2020-21, he said.

However, recently the Centre allowed to deliver only 24 LMT of rice to the FCI from the state, he said.

The state's Public Distribution System (PDS) requirement is 20 LMT rice and in addition to this, the stock of 3 LMT of rice will be kept by the state's Civil Supplies Corporation.

This way, it will be possible to dispose of 47 LMT of rice milled from 70.50 LMT of paddy, he said.

About 93 LMT of paddy is estimated to be procured in the state in the ongoing Kharif Marketing Season (KMS) and if the Centre does not allow an increase in the FCI's rice procurement limit, then the state is likely to suffer Rs 2,500 crore losses, he said.

The state government has not announced any kind of bonus payment in addition to the MSP directly and indirectly against paddy procurement.

The state government had earlier clarified about the Rajiv Gandhi Kisan Nyay Yojana (RGKNY) scheme to the Centres food department, he said.

He demanded to increase the FCI's procurement limit to 40 LMT under the central pool in the state.

Earlier this month, the Centre had allowed the state to deliver 24 LMT of rice to the state-agency FCI under central pool during the current KMS which is equivalent to the quantity as allowed in previous years.

The Centre had cited that Chhattisgarh government had published an advertisement in December last year mentioning that it will procure paddy from farmers at Rs 2,500 per quintal during the 2020-21 KMS by paying Rs 10,000 per acre through the RGKNY scheme. PTI TKP NP NP