PM’s help sought to resolve crisis
Chandigarh October 30:
Seeking a prompt action on relaxation in the specifications regarding discoloration and moisture content for procurement of paddy, the Punjab Chief Minister, Parkash Singh Badal, in a letter to the Prime Minister, reiterated his request for his direct intervention to resolve the matter without any further delay.
Badal had also written simultaneously to the Union Minister for Agriculture, Sharad Pawar, asking the Centre to bail them out in this hour of crisis as the paddy had been affected for reasons beyond their control. The Chief Minister again requested for relaxation to be given in the specifications on damage, discoloration and moisture content for procurement and the corresponding relaxation to be extended to rice also.
Unfortunately, the rains and hailstorm on October 22 came at a time when the grain of PUSA-44 variety was at a pre-mature stage this year. This variety of paddy had started maturing but because of conditions like low temperature and high humidity, the moisture was much more than the specification of 17per cent. Meanwhile, Chief Secretary SC Agrawal had also written to the Cabinet Secretary seeking his intervention for immediate relaxation of the specifications.