Baghel urges Centre to extend rice procurement limit under central pool

Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel on Friday requested Union food and consumer welfare minister Ramvilas Paswan to permit to raise the rice procurement limit for the Food Corporation of India (FCI) in the current kharif marketing year from 24 lakh MT to 31.11 lakh MT.

In a letter to Paswan, the CM said that the current circumstances due to Covid-19 pandemic have created increased requirement of rice in the other states as well.

“Due to which, the FCI had to transport food grains to other states in April 2020. This has created an empty space in the warehouses of the FCI in Chhattisgarh, He said.

For the prevention of Covid-19 pandemic, the state government is making consistent efforts in an integrated manner with awareness and compassion, Baghel said in the letter.

“To prevent the spread of Covid-19 infection, the lockdown has been in effect in Chhattisgarh as well, and it is being implemented without interruptions, as per the guidelines. The Centre’s Pradhan Mantri Gareeb Kalyan Ann Yojana is also being implemented effectively, which has brought great relief to people of the state,” he said.

“In view of the current circumstances, I would like to draw your attention towards the fact that in Chhattisgarh, a total 83.67 lakh tons of paddy was procured from 18.34 lakh farmers in 2019-20.

“Paddy procurement and collection of custom milling rice is done in the state as per the MoU signed between the Chhattisgarh government and the Union food and public distribution department, the chief minister said.

The Section 18 of the MoU signed between the Chhattisgarh government and Union food and public distribution department includes the provision that states the FCI should procure all the surplus rice, he said.

In a letter, the Union public distribution department had given permission to procure 24 lakh tons of Usna rice in kharif marketing year 2019-20 under central pool of the FCI.

In KMY 2019-20, out of the 56.51 lakh MT of rice produced from the 83.67 lakh tons of paddy procured in Chhattisgarh, the state government will procure 25.40 lakh MT of rice for PDS requirement of the state (Central pool 15.48 lakh metric ton, State Pool 9.92 lakh metric ton) and remaining 31.11 metric tons of rice will be surplus, the CM said in his letter.

Out of which the Centre will permit FCI to procure 24 lakh MT of rice, which will redress only 73.30 lakh MT of the procured rice, whereas nearly 10.47 lakh metric tons of paddy (proportionate to 7.11 lakh metric tons of rice) will remain unaddressed, he said.

Under the circumstances created due to Covid-19 pandemic and the lockdown will have long-term adverse effect on the economy of the nation as well as the states, Bgahel said.

“In this situation, if the surplus rice in Chhattisgarh is not redressed properly, the state may incur losses worth nearly Rs 1500 crore, which will further adversely impact economic development of the state in this already critical situation.”