Punjab CM meets Modi, demands immediate CCL release

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New Delhi/Chandigarh, April 18 (IANS) Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Monday urged the centre to immediately release cash credit limit (CCL) of Rs.20,094 crore to enable it make timely payments to farmers for wheat procured by government agencies.

Badal made the plea during a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi.

Badal told the prime minister that the “inordinate delay in CCL clearance would jeopardise the ongoing procurement operations”.

The chief minister said “this could lead to disaffection in the farming community, which might lead to law and order complications”.

“The prime minister assured Badal of positive action and said he will get the issue resolved on priority,” a spokesman of the chief minister’s office said in Chandigarh.

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Pointing out to a “massive” gap in the money spent on procurement of food grains and the actual stocks lying in Punjab, the Reserve Bank of India recently stopped the release of CCL to the state government for wheat procurement.

The gap in the procurement payment and actual stocks happened mainly during the rule of Shiromani Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party alliance government, which is in power in Punjab since 2007.

Opposition parties have said the scam money ranged from Rs.12,000 crore to Rs.20,000 crore and have demanded a high-level probe.

The CCL money is used to pay farmers for the crops the government agencies procure twice annually — wheat in April-May and paddy in October-November. Wheat procurement in Punjab started on April 1.

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The chief minister said that the ever-decreasing profit margins and mounting debt had increased the woes of the Punjab farmers, forcing more and more to quit farming.

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