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Bihar govt raises paddy procurement limit

Patna The Bihar government has increased the limit of paddy procurement from ryots, land-owning farmers, to 250 quintals from the existing 200 quintals per farmer, and 100 quintals from the existing 75 quintals per non-ryot in the state.

The decision was taken at a high-level meeting chaired by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Thursday to review the status of paddy procurement in the state during the Kharif Marketing Season (KMS), 2020-21, an official release said.

The chief minister also made it clear at the meeting that farmers registered at the website of agriculture department be automatically deemed as eligible for paddy procurement by Primary Agriculture Credit Society (PACS) at the Minimum Support Price (MSP) rates, the release said.

The cooperative department need not register farmers separately for the purpose, the chief minister said.

Officials concerned were asked to ensure adequate storage capacity in all the districts for storing paddy, the release said. Procurement is expected to be very high because of a good harvest this year in the state, Kumar said.

In-depth probe should be made into the activities of PACS which were accused of irregularities and FIRs were lodged against them, the chief minister said.

All the district magistrates along with superintendents of police must review such cases, he added. The chief minister directed officials to allow newly elected PACS chairpersons, without any taint or irregularity, to carry out paddy procurement drive.

Kumar also directed the DMs concerned to make spot verifications to ensure that farmers of non-functional PACS can get their paddy procurement done at the nearby PACS or Vyapar Mandals.

He also asked the district magistrates to regularly visit the PACS and talk to the farmers to resolve their problems.

The government has set a target of procuring at least 45 lakh metric tonnes of paddy during the current season, food and consumer protection departments secretary Vinay Kumar said.

This year, the MSP for general grade paddy has been fixed at Rs 1,868 per quintal while that for A-grade paddy at Rs 1,888 per quintal, the official said. PTI