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Jharkhand to urge Centre to extend deadline if paddy procurement target not achieved

Ranchi,  The Jharkhand government will request the Centre to extend the deadline for paddy procurement till April 30 this year, in case it fails to achieve the target by March 31, a senior minister informed the state Assembly on Thursday.

The target for 2021-22 is 80-lakh tonne, and the deadline for procurement is expiring on March 31.

The state has achieved over 71 per cent of its paddy procurement target till March 23.

State Food, Public Distribution and Consumer Affairs Minister Rameshwar Oraon told the House, “We have already achieved 71.33 per cent of the target till March 23 and there are seven more days to go.

“We are hopeful of achieving the target by March end. In case we fail to do so, a request will be made to the Centre to extend the deadline till April 30.” Oraon was replying to a question raised by BJP legislator Manish Jaiswal over poor paddy procurement in the state.

Paddy is the main crop for farmers in Jharkhand but average procurement is 50-55 per cent every year. I would like to ask the government for how long farmers will remain in such condition?” Jaiswal asked.

Congress MLA Rajesh Kachhap also participated in the debate and raised a question over inadequate procurement centres in the state.

“Procurement centres should be extended to the panchayat level,” he said.

In the absence of procurement centres, farmers are forced to sell their produce at a very low price to private parties, BJP legislator Raj Sinha said.

Responding to the questions, state Agriculture Minister Badal Patralekh said procurement centres are being extended to the panchayat level.

He also said that paddy procurement has increased in past two years.

“Procurement target in 2018-19 and 2019-20 was 40-lakh tonne, while achievement was 53 per cent and 56 per cent respectively. In 2020-21, the target was increased to 60-lakh tonne and the achievement was a whopping 103 per cent. For 2021-22, the target was increased to 80-lakh tonne and the achievement is over 71 per cent till now,” the agriculture minister said.

A farmer in Jharkhand sells paddy produce at minimum support price (MSP) of Rs 2,050 per quintal, including Rs 180 bonus from the state government.

Pointing out that the government was working to improve milling capacity, Patralekh said “Tenders for 19 rice mills have been floated. Until basic infrastructure is ensured, procurement cannot be made successful. So, we are also working to increase the number of godowns.” PTI