Millennium Post

State Food dept to begin purchase of paddy from Nov 1

Kolkata: The state Food and Supplies department will start purchasing paddy for the new Kharif season from November 1 with a target of buying 52 lakh metric tonnes in the 2019-20 season.

The Minimum Support Price (MSP) for purchasing paddy from the farmers has been hiked by the Centre from Rs 1,750 per quintal last year to Rs 1,815 per quintal this year. The registration process for farmers will start from October 16.

The state government will provide a subsidy of Rs 20 per quintal to encourage the farmers sell their paddy directly to the government or through the cooperative societies in the state. The process of paddy purchase is done through co operative agencies like BENFED, CONFED, ECSC etc. For the last few years, the Self-Help Groups (SHGs) have also been involved in the purchase of paddy. A senior official of the department said as per plans the state government agencies will purchase 46 lakh metric tonnes while the Food Corporation of India (FCI) has been asked to procure 6 lakh metric tonnes.

"We are taking all possible measures to ensure that farmers are not compelled to indulge in distress sale of paddy. More and more SHGs will be involved and camps will be organised. Meetings have already been held with the Panchayats department in this regard," the official added.

It may be mentioned that last year Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had to intervene to crackdown on the middlemen jeopardizing the process of smooth paddy procurement from the farmers. Banerjee had held a high-level meeting with senior officials of the concerned departments in December and it was decided that cheques would be handed over immediately to the farmers as soon as they sell off the crop. At least 2000 centres, besides the existing Kisan Mandis, were opened where farmers came and sold their stock and immediately were handed over the cheques.

More than 50 lakh farmers have derived the benefits of the Krishak Bandhu scheme from the state government.

The Food department has already collected list of these farmers from the state Agriculture department.

The department will make computer data entry of the quantity of paddy sold by these farmers who have been benefitted by the scheme.

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