Punjab cancels wheat procurement tenders floated by Badal government

Indo Asian News Service

Chandigarh, March 20 (IANS) The Punjab government on Monday cancelled all the labour and transportation tenders issued during the previous Parkash Singh Badal government for the upcoming wheat procurement season.

The Congress government, led by Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, has invited fresh tenders while directing the Deputy Commissioners (DCs) to personally supervise the procurement process beginning on April 1.

Wheat procurement is important in Green Revolution state Punjab as it contributes nearly 50 per cent foodgrains to the national kitty.

The decision was taken after a high-level meeting of DCs and Superintendents of Police (SPs), chaired by the Chief Minister, here on Monday.

"Fresh tenders could be submitted till 5 p.m. on March 24 and would be opened the next day by the respective committees headed by the Deputy Commissioners of the concerned districts. The entire tendering process would be completed by March 31, before the two-month procurement process kicks off on April 1," a state government spokesman said.

The procurement begins on April 1 and will continue till May 31. Bulk of the wheat will be procured between April 13 (Baisakhi) and May 15.

The Reserve Bank of India gives a Cash Credit Limit (CCL) of over Rs 20,000 crore to Punjab for smooth procurement of wheat.

"The agencies would procure an estimated 122 lakh tonnes of wheat during this procurement drive. The Indian government has fixed Rs 1,625 per quintal as Minimum Support Price (MSP) for wheat for the current marketing season," the spokesman said.

The Congress party, in the run-up to the Punjab assembly elections on February 4, had alleged misappropriation of Rs 31,000 crore in the food grain procurement under the Badal government.