Chandigarh, Nov 1, 2019 (Yes Punjab News)
Taking note of the prevailing storage space crunch, Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Friday urged the Government of India to allow quick liquidation of food stocks through its Open Market Sale Scheme (OMSS) to address the problem.
The Chief Minister said he would soon meet Union Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan to seek his personal intervention to get the storage issue resolved, and if need be, would also take up the issue with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Chairing a high-level meeting to review the ongoing paddy procurement operations in the state, Captain Amarinder Singh directed Principal Secretary Food to ask FCI to submit storage-gap analysis at the earliest to enable the state to chalk out a comprehensive action plan in case the Centre fails to lift the committed storage stocks.
The Chief Minister said he would also raise with the central government the issue of enhancing the state’s PDS allocation quota in order to dispose of additional quantity of stored foodgrain, which would in turn help the state in easing out the pressure on storage capacity. The state, at present, is short of 40 Lakh MTs space, considering the current pace of evacuation, which in the wake of a bumper Kharif crop has put further pressure on the existing storage space.
Responding to a proposal put forth by Chairman Mandi Board, the Chief Minister consented to utilise the space for storage of foodgrain across 93 mandi sheds, as identified by the Board. He asked the Managing Directors of Punjab State Warehousing Corporation (PSWC) and MARKFED to prepare a blueprint for creation of warehousing infrastructure.
Expressing concern over the central government’s move to shift from the MSP regime, Captain Amarinder warned that any proposal to tweak this time-tested mechanism should be meticulously studied and planned before its implementation, so as to safeguard the interests of the farming community.
Expressing satisfaction over the swift pace of procurement in the state, the Chief Minister lauded the efforts of the Food Department in ensuring hassle-free and smooth procurement and lifting, as well as timely payments to the farmers.
Meanwhile, the Principal Secretary Food disclosed that against the targeted procurement of 170 Lakh MTs, nearly 108.50 Lakh MTs of paddy had already been procured till date during the ongoing Kharif Marketing Season. He hoped that the entire procurement operations would be completed by November 30 well, well before the cut-off date of December 15.
The meeting was attended, among others, by Chairman Mandi Board Lal Singh, Media Advisor to CM Raveen Thukral, Vice Chairman Mandi Board Vijay Kalra, Food & Civil Supplies Minister Bharat Bhushan Ashu, Chief Secretary Karan Avtar Singh, Chief Principal Secretary to CM Suresh Kumar, Principal Secretary Food & Civil Supplies KAP Sinha, Principal Secretary Finance Anirudh Tewari, Secretary Mandi Board Ravi Bhagat, Director Food and Supplies Anindita Mitra, Managing Director Markfed Varun Roozam, General Manager FCI Punjab Regional Arshdeep Singh Thind, Managing Director PUNSUP Amarpal Singh, and Additional MD PSWC-cum-Additional Secretary Finance Yashanjit Singh.