Moga, Sept 30 (UNI) Private traders have made bulk of the paddy purchases in Punjab, having procured 14.67 lakh tonnes of the 19.58 lakh tonnes of the foodgrain that has arrived in the 'mandis' (grain markets) so far.
The six government procurement agencies, including FCI, have procured only 4.91 lakh tonnes. So far 20.39 lakh tonnes paddy has arrived in the 1548 mandis and purchase centres of the state.
The purchase by the government agencies is three per cent more than the corresponding period of last year, Punjab Mandi Board Chairman Ajmer Singh Lakhowal disclosed here today.
Mr Lakhowal held a meeting with the mandi officers and procurement agencies of the six districts of Moga, Ferozepur, Muktsar, Faridkot, Bathinda and Mansa to review the procurement arrangements.
Mr Lakhowal claimed that the procurement was proceeding smoothly and all arrangements had been made for the lifting and transportation of the procured paddy.
Mr Lakhowal, a kisan union, demanded a hike in the Rs 675 per quintal MSP. He was of the opinion that the government agencies would not be able to achieve their targets if the MSP was not hiked as the private traders were presently offering higher rates than the MSP.
He appealed to the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Union Food Minister to Sharad Pawar announce a bonus of Rs 50 per quintal on paddy. The MSP should also be hiked to Rs 916 per quintal considering the high input costs which the farmers have incured.