Chandigarh, August 7: Allaying their apprehensions on this count, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has ruled out the exclusion of Arhtiyas from the procurement process, while assuring them of his government’s full support in the smooth implementation of the Public Financial Management System (PFMS) in the state, as mandated by the Centre.
Addressing a function organised by the Federation of Arhtiyas here at Kissan Bhawan, the Chief Minister made it clear that no amendment would be made to the APMC Act to exclude the Arhtiyas from the procurement of Wheat and Paddy for the Central Pool. The State Government will continue to make payments to the farmers through the Arhtiyas, with whom the farmers had age-old ties, he assured.
Captain Amarinder expressed satisfaction at the decision of the Arhtiyas to adopt the PFMS system, because of the non-implementation of which the Government of India had withheld Rs 1000 crores in payments due to the state government. The cash-strapped state could ill-afford any delay in the release of this amount, which includes ,reimbursement of Rs. 500 Crore already paid to the Arhtiyas, he added.
The Chief Minister directed the State Procurement Agencies and Mandi Board to train the Arhtiyas on use of the PFMS software, and to assist them in uploading the Bank Account details of the farmers and link them with Arhtiya Bank Accounts on PFMS.
Reiterating his government’s commitment to ensure hassle-free procurement of food grains, Captain Amarinder said both the farmers and the Arhtiyas had benefitted immensely as a result of the check on the corrupt practices that had prevailed in the procurement operations during the Akali regime.
Pointing out that the Cash Credit Limit which used to come at the fag end of the procurement season during the Akali Rule had been arranged much before the start of procurement ever since his Government took over, the Chief Minister said the support of the Arhtiyas had helped in ensuring timely payments and lifting of foodgrain.
In the last five procurement seasons, the farmers had earned more than Rs 1.24 Lakh Crore against the sale of wheat and paddy crops, while during the last corresponding periods of the Akali Government, the farmers earned only Rs. 94,200 Crore. This had resulted in a whopping 32% increase in the earnings of the farmers since the Congress Government came to power, Captain Amarinder pointed out.
Further, said the Chief Minister, the Arhtiyas had aearned nearly Rs. 3100 Crore as Commission since his Government took over while the Akali Government had paid only Rs. 2356 Crore for the same period, which translated into an increase of about 32%.
The function was attended by School Education and PWD Minister Vijay Inder Singla, Water Resources Minister Gurpreet Singh Kangar, Media Advisor to CM Raveen Thukral, Chairman Mandi Board Lal Singh, Chairman PUNSUP Tejinder Singh Bittu, MLA Fatehgarh Sahib Kulwant Singh Nagra, Principal Secretary Food & Civil Supplies KAP Sinha, Special Principal Secretary to CM Gurkirat Kirpal Singh, Director Food & Civil Supplies Anindita Mitra and Secretary Mandi Board Dharampal Gupta. Captain Amarinder Singh’s son Raninder Singh was also present on the occasion.
The Federation of Arhtiya Association was represented by president Vijay Kalra, Senior Vice President Amarjit Brar, Vice President Devi Dayal Goel, Rajesh Jain, District President Tarn Taran Mahavir Singh Gill, President Sangrur Jagtar Singh Dhuri, President Mansa Jatinder Mohan Garg, Punjab Secretaries Harbans Singh and Shiv Kumar.