November 8, 2013
WB govt to set up 1000 paddy procurement camps
The state government will set up 1,000 special camps for procurement of paddy in areas that do not have rice mills.
The special camps will start functioning from 28 November, state Food and Supplies Minister Jyotipriya Mallick announced today.
The state Food Department will also undertake a door-to-door campaign from 1 to 15 December to open bank accounts for farmers. The bank account is required for remitting money to the farmers against the procurement of paddy.
The government has decided to procure 35 lakh metric tons (MT) of paddy in the coming harvest season beginning from November at a minimum support price (MSP) of Rs 1,310 per quintal that has been fixed by the Centre. This MSP is up by R60 over the previous year, the minister said. The procurement will be done by three state and three Central government agencies.
“On milling 35 lakh MT paddy we will get 22 lakh MT rice whereas the requirement of our public distribution system is 1.20 lakh MT. Till 31 October, we had a stock of 2.15 lakh MT rice and there is storage space for another 2.67 lakh MT. We will build 60 more godowns with a capacity to store three lakh MT and these will be commissioned by July next year,“ Mr Mallick said.
He added that the government will not tolerate any middleman and FIRs will be lodged against any person who is found collecting paddy from the farmers at a price lower than the MSP even on the pretext that he will deliver it to some rice mill located at a distance.
In a related development, state Finance Minister, Mr Amit Mitra, announced that the state and the Centre will give a joint subsidy to entrepreneurs setting up rice mills in 165 blocks in the state that currently lack one. Going by the Centre specified framework, the subsidy will be Rs 50 lakh for general areas and Rs 75 lakh for tribal areas; of this the state will bear 25 per cent and the remaining 75 per cent will come from the Centre.
“In addition to this, the state government will give another Rs 5 lakh subsidy from its own coffer for both the areas,“ Mr Mitra said. As of now, the state has 1,018 rice mills spread over 176 blocks out of the total 341 blocks in the state. The number of rice mills is particularly less in the Jangalmahal.
“The sole aim of the scheme is to ensure that all blocks get a rice mill, which will allow the farmers to sell their harvest without any difficulty,“ he said.
The state Food Processing and Horticulture Department will soon publish advertisements detailing the nitty-gritty for availing the subsidy.