Wheat Procurement Crisis In Punjab, Chief Minister Meets PM Modi

Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal met PM Modi in Delhi on Monday.

CHANDIGARH:  80-year-old farmer Amarjit Singh from Punjab's Fatehgarh Sahib district went to a wholesale grain market with 52 quintals of wheat to sell, but instead, his commission agent handed him a bill worth Rs. 82,000.

Wheat procurement in Punjab kicked off from April 1, but since then none of the farmers like Amarjit Singh have received a single penny.

"My commission agent told me to check within 15-20 days for payment… I have to make payment for the tractor in which I brought my wheat and also to the thresher owner… I have no money," said the dejected 80-year-old farmer.

Another farmer, Manpreet Singh, is worried about his loan repayment. "My Rs. 4 lakh are stuck with the commission agent… I have to pay my installments of loans to the bank… they will not entertain any excuse," he said.

A major procurement crisis is looming before the Parkash Singh Badal-led government in Punjab as banks have refused cash credit limit of Rs. 20 thousand crores after the Reserve Bank alleged that stocks worth Rs. 12 thousand crores were missing from the state godowns.

The opposition parties are raking up the issue to corner the Badal government.

Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi said, "We demand that that the Badal government should immediately release payments to the farmers… there should be no delay."

Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal rushed to Delhi on Monday and met Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging him to intervene.

A press release by the government said that the meeting which lasted nearly 20 minutes was fruitful. The PM assured Mr Badal of positive action and said that he would get this issue resolved on priority.

Meanwhile, more than 10 lakh metric tonnes of wheat has already arrived in the grain markets and is waiting to be lifted to the godowns, but delayed payments could lead to a glut.

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