Chandigarh, September 28, 2017: Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Thursday promised strict adherence by his government to the 48-hour deadline for lifting of paddy and payment to farmers for their crop in the ensuing Kharif season.

Addressing a meeting of rice millers, led by All India Rice Miller Association and Punjab State Rice Millers Association president Tarsem Saini, the Chief Minister also promised revival of sick rice milling units to be taken up on priority by his government.

Pointing out that his government had got the issue of Cash Credit Limit (CCL) sorted out, the Chief Minister said everything was in place for smooth procurement of paddy in this season, when an estimated 182 lac metric tonnes of the crop was expected to come into the market, as against the previous season’s target of 165 lac metric tonnes.

The Mandis were witnessing 182% increase in arrival of cotton crop as compare to last year, as a result of the collective efforts of the state government, PAU and farmers, backed by favourable weather conditions, said the Chief Minister, expressing satisfaction over the bumper production of cotton.

Reiterating his government’s commitment to early redressal of the various problems faced by the beleaguered industry, Captain Amarinder pointed out that his government had recently announced a One Time Settlement (OTS) scheme to provide an opportunity to all defaulter rice millers to clear their past dues. Around 1500 of the total 3500 defaulting and sick milling units would benefit by the scheme, he said, adding that this was one of the several measures initiated to bring the industry back on the path of progress.

Responding to a demand from the rice millers, Captain Amarinder said he would take up the issue of Bardana use and transportation charges with the Central Government next week at his meeting with Union Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan. On the issue of millers in surplus paddy districts being given more paddy at a rate of 140% of their original entitlement, he assured that no miller would be forced to mill paddy beyond his capacity and only those willing to mill extra paddy would be considered.

The Chief Minister called upon the rice milling industry to collaborate with the state government in ensuring smooth procurement of paddy in the forthcoming Kharif season. Collective efforts always yield positive results, he said, recalling the success of the collaboration between the farmers and the government in tackling the recent whitefly attack on cotton crops. With the farming community and the agricultural scientists of the Government of Punjab coming together, the spread of the whitefly was successfully prevented, he added.

Punjab Mandikaran Board Chairman Lal Singh blamed the previous SAD-BJP government for the mess in the industry, saying the Akalis and BJP had plundered the state, leaving it under a massive debt burden of Rs 2.08 lakh crore as a result of its ill-conceived and corrupt policies. With the installation of the Captain Amarinder Singh led government, the state was witnessing a turnaround with more than 300 new rice mills already set up in just six months, said Lal Singh, promising to act as a bridge between the milling community and the government to resolve any issues of concern.

Tarsem Saini thanked Captain Amarinder Singh for listening to the problems of the rice millers and assured him of total support of the industry in reviving the state’s economy. He said that there were 3672 milling units in the state, which were providing employment to 4 lakh people and playing a critical role in promoting agricultural growth in the state.

Prominent amongst those present at the meeting were Additional Chief Secretary MP Singh, Special Principal Secretary to CM Gurkirat Kirpal Singh, Secretary Food and Civil Supplies KAP Sinha, along with senior PPCC leader Sanjeev Kumar Tanda.

The meeting was also attended by office bearers of various millers’ associations, including Senior Vice President Rice Miller Association Gurmej Singh, Senior Vice president Pramod Kumar, Vice-president All India Rice Millers Association Sanjay Bhoot, President Patiala District Rice Millers Association Gurdeep Singh Cheema, President Sangrur District Rice Millers Association Prem Dirba, President Muktsar District Rice Millers Association Bharat Bhusan Binta, President Jallandhar District Rice Millers Association Raj Kumar, President Patiala Local District Rice Millers Association Sanjeev Goyal, President Moga District Rice Millers Association Vinod Kumar, Senior Vice President Punjab District Rice Millers Association Bal Krishan Bali, President Fatehgarh District Rice Millers Association Inderjeet Singh Sandhu. President Ludhiana District Rice Millers Association Hari Om.

Friday, September 29, 2017