Chandigarh, Dec 4 (IANS) Paddy procurement in Punjab and Haryana has hit a new high this year. Both states have procured over 184 lakh tonnes of paddy this season, food and supplies officials of both states said here Tuesday.
While Punjab has procured nearly 133.5 lakh tonnes paddy, Haryana has procured nearly 51 lakh tonnes. Bulk of the paddy (over 95 percent) has been procured by government agencies while the rest has been procured by private millers in Punjab.
"In Punjab, the paddy crop has been a bumper one despite 42 percent deficient rainfall in the state this year. This is a record of sorts," an agriculture department officer said.
Farmers in Punjab have been made payments of over Rs.16,000 crore this season, officials said here.
In Punjab, Ludhiana, Sangrur and Patiala were leading in procurement.
Punjab's procurement of paddy this season was nearly 16 lakh tonnes higher than the paddy procured (118 lakh tonnes) in the same period last year.
A state government spokesman said the high paddy production was owing to hard work of Punjab farmers.
"This could be possible as farmers of Punjab nurtured the crops this season with their hard work and incurring extra expenditure of Rs.900 crore on diesel to save the paddy. The Punjab government provided free electricity worth Rs.5,200 crore to farmers," the spokesman said.
In neighbouring Haryana, nearly 51 lakh tonnes of paddy has been procured compared to over 44.53 lakh tonnes that arrived during the corresponding period last year, officials said.
Kurukshetra, Karnal and Kaithal were leading in paddy procurement in Haryana.
Procurement of paddy in both states started Oct 1 but the bulk of the stocks started arriving only after Oct 10.
In Punjab, the state government has set up 1,770 procurement centres.
The minimum support price (MSP) fixed by the government this time is Rs.1,250 and Rs.1,280 per quintal for common and grade-A varieties of paddy, respectively.