Paddy procurement deadline in Bihar extended till Feb 21: Nitish

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Patna, Jan 28 (PTI) The deadline for paddy procurement in Bihar has been extended by three weeks in a bid to provide the benefit to as many farmers as possible, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said on Thursday.

Kumar said there had been requests from a number of farmers bodies for extending the deadline which was originally set at January 31.

'Consequently, it has been extended to February 21', he told a meeting convened to review the procurement of paddy during the ongoing Kharif season.

The meeting was attended by District Magistrates from across the state via video conferencing.

They were told by the chief minister to ensure better coordination between the farmers and the Primary Agriculture Credit Societies (PACS) which have been buying agricultural produce from cultivators of the state since the APMC Act was abolished more than a decade ago.

'Get in touch with the farmers in your respective areas of jurisdiction, identify the regions where procurement has been low and take remedial action after finding out the cause', Kumar said.

He also called for a proper assessment of storage capacity of rice mills and PACS so that procurement was not deferred for want of adequate space.

'After procurement, please also ensure that the respective farmers are paid their dues at the earliest', the chief minister added.

The meeting was attended among others by minister for food and consumer protection Bijendra Prasad Yadav, Chief Secretary Deepak Kumar and secretaries of the departments concerned.

Earlier, the Bihar government had increased the limit of paddy procurement from ryots (land-owning farmers) to 250 quintals from the existing 200 quintals per farmer and 100 quintals from the existing 75 quintals per non-ryot in the state.

This year, the Minimum Support Price (MSP) for general grade paddy has been fixed at Rs 1,868 per quintal in Bihar while that for A-grade paddy at Rs 1,888 per quintal. PTI NAC SNS SNS