Punjab Cabinet shall raise paddy procurement for rice shellers in border areas, while constituting a 3-member committee to ensure minimum payment to labourers in the mandis. At a meeting of the Council of Ministers, Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh directed officials to take adequate steps to prevent any disruption of paddy procurement by banned truck unions. An official spokesperson said the cabinet decided to form the committee, which will include the Labour Secretary, after the issue was raised by ministers Rana Gurjit and Navjot Singh Sidhu. The two ministers said middle men were exploiting labourers by paying less than their prescribed minimum wages.
Hence the cabinet decided that proposed committee will examine and take measures to ensure that no such exploitation takes place in the mandis.
Regarding millers located in border areas, the cabinet decided that against the 20 per cent incentive provided to them last year over and above their 100 per cent milling capacity, the millers will be allowed 40 per cent additional share this season. Besides giving an impetus to the rice mills in border areas, this will ensure minimum shifting of surplus paddy, said the spokesperson.
Cabinet also approved the Custom Milling Policy for kharif marketing season (KMS) 2017-18 to get procured paddy milled through approximately 3,600 rice mills situated across the state. The scheme for Custom Milling of Kharif 2017-18 paddy would be followed by all the procuring agencies – PUNGRAIN, MARKFED, PUNSUP, Punjab State Warehousing Corporation, Punjab Agro Foodgrains Corporation, Food Corporation of India (FCI) and the Rice Millers.
The state was expected to procure 165.74 Lakh MTs of paddy and the target was to complete the Custom Milling of Paddy, thereby delivering the full quota of rice to Food Corporation of India by March 31, 2018. As per the customs milling policy, which becomes applicable with the start of the marketing season on October 1, paddy arriving in the mandis shall be procured by the government agencies as per the specification laid down by the Government of India. The policy provides for penalisation of millers who refuse to accept the allotted custom milling work or to lift/accept the allotted paddy from the agency, with it becoming blacklisted for three years.