PM`s intervention sought to bailout Punjab farmers

Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Sunday sought Prime Minister Manmohan Singh`s intervention to relax norms regarding procurement of paddy from farmers by the FCI and state agencies in the current season.

Chandigarh: Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Sunday sought Prime Minister Manmohan Singh`s intervention to relax norms regarding procurement of paddy
from farmers by the FCI and state agencies in the current season.

The chief minister said that failure to take immediate corrective and remedial action in this regard could lead to "serious law and order problem in the days ahead."

Badal has also written to Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar saying that the Centre must keep in mind that the crop has been affected for reasons beyond the farmers` control.

The moisture specification should be increased from 17 to 20 percent and discoloration up to 10 percent while rice out-turn ratio has to be decreased from 67 to 60 percent, Badal wrote to Prime Minister and Agriculture Minister.

FCI and government agencies were finding it difficult to procure paddy in view of the established norms on discoloration and moisture content, he said.

Rains in many parts of the state along with hailstorm on October 22 had affected all varieties of paddy in terms of moisture content and appearance, Badal wrote.

"In these circumstances, relaxation in moisture content and rice out-turn ratio is required to be made forthwith," he said.

Yesterday, farmers` organisations held demonstrations and blocked road traffic to protest slow procurement of paddy by state-owned agencies.

PTI