CHANDIGARH: Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday assured Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh that he would direct the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to ensure that all arrangements for wheat procurement in the state were in place by March 25.
The assurance came after Amarinder met Jaitley at his residence in Delhi to seek immediate authorisation and release of Rs 20,683 crore Cash Credit Limit (CCL) from the central government for smooth and timely wheat procurement in the state.
Amarinder informed the Finance Minister that a proposal seeking the CCL had already been sent to the RBI by the state government, which hoped to procure over 100 LMT of wheat in this procurement season, commencing April 1.
Jaitley assured the chief minister of the Centre’s full cooperation in ensuring that the farmers in Punjab did not face any problems in the procuring the cereal, Raveen Thukral, media advisor to CM, disclosed after the meeting. Amarinder described the luncheon meeting as fruitful and thanked the Finance Minister for his prompt and positive response.
The chief minister had on Saturday directed all district collectors to personally monitor the procurement process and ensure smooth and hassle-free procurement of the farmers’ crop. Arrangements are being made on war-footing to streamline the procurement process in all the 1,800 mandis of Punjab.
Amarinder, who is in charge of the Food and Civil Supplies department, has also cancelled all labour and transportation tenders finalised for wheat procurement by the previous SAD-BJP government. Fresh tenders have already been called for. The state Mandi Board has been directed to provide all basic amenities and facilities in the mandis in addition to smooth and timely payments, as well as complete transparency in the process.