Food & Supplies dept targets 52L metric tonne paddy for 2018
Kolkata: State Food & Supplies minister Jyotipriya Mallick said on Monday that his department has set a target of purchasing 52 lakh metric tonne of paddy for the year 2018 and will start the process of purchasing paddy right from November 1.
The price for paddy per quintal has been pegged at Rs 1,550 and the state government will provide an additional stipend of Rs 20 per quintal to encourage farmers to sell paddy directly to the government or through the cooperative societies in the state.
The state government will spend Rs 200 crore annually for this additional farmer stipend.
Addressing a first of its kind symposium to ensure smooth paddy procurement by the cooperative societies directly from the farmers so that the latter gets the minimum support price, Mallick said that the government is determined to stop distress sales of paddy. "Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has instructed us to take all possible measures to ensure that there is no distress sale," Mallick said.
According to the minister, around 36.35 lakh metric tonne will be converted into rice and the rest will be kept for emergency purposes in case of any natural calamity or disaster.
The procurement process will be done through 341 central purchasing centres that has been set up across the districts in the state.
A farmer can sell a maximum of 90 quintals of paddy directly to the government and will quickly get the money credited to his bank account through NEFT transfer.
"This will ensure transparency and at the same time rule out middlemen in the procurement process," he added.
Principal secretary of Food & Supplies department, Manoj Agarwal said that the government is planning to meet the target for paddy procurement by April 2018. "We have had an agreement with Food Corporation of India (FCI) thorough which they will purchase 4.5 lakh tonne rice from us and will export them to other countries," Agarwal said adding that the department is opening two toll-free numbers 18003455504 and 18003451967 that will address queries on procurement.
A senior official of the department said that the state government has sanctioned an amount of Rs 800 crore which will be utilised in construction of godowns with a total capacity of 5 lakh metric tonne by the year 2018.
State Cooperation minister Arup Roy said that his department will stress upon activating the dormant Kisan Credit Cards and open up cooperative societies that has become non-functional for some reasons.
State Education minister Partha Chatterjee and
state Transport minister Suvendu Adhikari were also present at the programme at Rabindra Sadan.