UP govt to purchase ‘unlimited’ wheat at MSP

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The Yogi Adityanath government has rolled out a wheat procurement policy allowing ‘unlimited’ purchase of the rabi crop from the farmers at the stipulated minimum support price (MSP) of Rs 1,975 per quintal in 2021-22.

The move is being seen as an attempt to placate the agitating farmers who have been expressing their apprehension about the government’s intention of doing away with the MSP.

According to the government spokesman, “The purchase will be carried out till farmers continue to reach purchase centres to sell their produce.”

The policy document issued by the food and civil supply department said that the wheat procurement would start from April 1 till June 15. The centres will continue to operate on all days between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. except Sundays and gazetted holidays.

The period may, however, be altered by the respective district magistrates after considering local situations.

The wheat procurement target in 2020-21 was 55 lakh metric tonnes. The actual purchase, however, was 35.76 lakh metric tonnes due to Covid-induced lockdown in the months of April-June.

The procurement would be done through 6,000 centres, of which a maximum of 3,500 would be those operated by the Pradeshik Cooperative Federation (PCF).

The marketing wing of the civil supply department would set up 1,100 centres, while UP Mandi Parishad, UP food and essential commodities corporation and UP Consumer Cooperative Sangh would operate 250 centres each.

The Food Corporation of India will operate 150 centres.

The purchase centres will be set up at the various tehsils and blocks in buildings of cooperative societies, mandi premises, agricultural marketing hub, rural infrastructure centres, panchayat bhawan, building of cane committees and fertilizer and seed selling centres.

The department can also set up purchase centres on rent on the main road for easy access to farmers.

The centres would be geo-tagged to allow farmers to reach there easily.

The policy empowers the food and civil supply department to add or remove the wheat procurement agencies. District magistrates will be the nodal officers overseeing procurement of wheat. They will have to appoint an additional district magistrate-level officer as district purchase officer to monitor the procurement process.

At the same time, a sub-divisional magistrate level officer will be required to supervise registration of farmers and oversee storage of wheat in coordination with the regional marketing officer.

The district administration will also appoint a nodal officer at all the purchase centres to ensure purchase of wheat as per the designated rules and regulations. The nodal officer would subsequently be required to submit a report of purchase done with the district marketing officer on a daily basis.

–IANS

amita/dpb