Press Trust of india

C’garh CM talks to PM over delivery of rice to central pool

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Raipur:  Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel on Thursday requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ensure that Centre gives permission for the transfer of rice to the central pool after custom milling of paddy procured from the farmers in the state, an official said.

Baghel held talks with the prime minister over phone on the issue, during which the latter assured to take appropriate steps at the earliest, he added.

On Wednesday, Baghel had written a letter to the PM in this connection and sought appointment to meet him so that facts can be placed before him if required, the state’s public relations department official said.

The Centre has given ‘in-principle approval’ to the state for depositing 60 lakh metric tonnes of rice in the central pool after the custom milling of paddy procured from the cultivators in the ongoing kharif marketing season, Baghel said in the letter.

“The state government initiated paddy procurement drive on minimum support price (MSP) from December 1, and 47 lakh MT paddy has already been procured from 12 lakh farmers till date. But the necessary permission from the Union Food and Public Distribution department for contributing rice to the central pool through Food Corporation of India (FCI), is still awaited,” he said.

Requests have been made to the Union Food Minister on this front through written and oral communication many times, but the approval is still pending, he added.

“Delay in permission for lifting of rice from the state for the central pool has severely affected the paddy procurement drive as well as custom milling process,” he said.

Baghel also said that the shortage of gunny bags has also hit the process.

“The state government had earlier written to the Jute Commissioner for the supply of 3.50 lakh gunny bags against which the state government has been allotted only 1.45 lakh, of which, only 1.05 lakh gunny bags have been received as yet,” he said.

Citing the interest of farmers, Baghel had requested to soon issue permission for procurement of rice for the central pool from the state, the official said.

“The CM spoke on the issue to the PM over phone this morning during which the latter has assured to take suitable action,” he added.

Meanwhile, opposition BJP slammed the ruling Congress, alleging that the state government was trying to cover up its mismanagement in paddy procurement.

“When the Centre has already announced that it will accept 60 lakh MT rice in the central pool from the state, against which it has already sanctioned Rs 9,000 crore to the state government, why is the Congress government playing games with farmers?” state BJP chief Vishnu Deo Sai asked.

Instead of making arrangements for providing relief to the farmers, the Congress is engaged in hatching political conspiracies and issuing baseless statements against the Centre, he said.

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