Guwahati: Good news for the residents of Tripura as state-owned Food Corporation has decided to start rice procurement for the first time in the state from this coming December as the Centre has given in-principle nod after state Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb resolved certain issues in his meeting with Union Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan on Friday.
It may be noted that the Food Corporation of India (FCI) will procure paddy directly from farmers at a minimum support price (MSP) and get it milled at a rate of Rs 15-20 per quintal on behalf of the state government for distribution through the public distribution system (PDS).
Talking on this issue, Chief Minister, Biplab Kumar Deb stated that Tripura produces 12 lakh tonnes of rice, while its PDS requirement is around 2.71 lakh tonnes per annum. In the absence of procurement, rice is being transported from Punjab for PDS distribution in the state at present. “Farmers are not getting the benefit of the MSP in Tripura in the absence of FCI procurement, he added.
He also added that farmers are selling rice at a lower rate of Rs 12 per kg, whereas the MSP fixed by the Centre is Rs 17.50 per kg rice. Since the milling charges in Tripura are much higher than the rate fixed by the FCI, the state government has agreed to bear the difference, he said.
“FCI was not willing to procuring at a high milling rate. We have decided to bear the difference. FCI will start procurement from December onwards,” Biplab Kumar Deb also added.
As per reports, it may be mentioned here that milling charge in Tripura is high at Rs 150 per quintal for milling, while the FCI has a uniform rate of Rs 15-20 per kg for milling for all states. Since the rice to PDS in Tripura is brought from Punjab at a transportation cost of Rs 250 per quintal, the Chief Minister demanded the centre to consider a relaxation in the norm for the Northeastern state in milling charges.
As per reports, the state also demanded that a percentage of rice milled from one quintal of paddy to be kept at 65 per cent instead of 68 per cent at present. To this proposal, the ministry official stated that there are several demands from other states and a study is being conducted by a south-based rice institute and a decision will be taken only after examining the study report.