Terming ‘baseless’ the Delhi government’s claim that wheat procurement centres are not operational in the national capital, the Centre’s Food Corporation of India (FCI) on Thursday said buying centres are fully functional and so far purchased 15.8 tonnes of wheat at MSP directly from farmers.
Normally, wheat procurement is undertaken from three centres in Delhi: Mayapuri, Narela and APMC Najafgarh Mandi. Last year, 27.6 tonnes of wheat was procured from farmers here.
Wheat is a major rabi (winter-sown) crop. Harvesting starts from end of March but picks up pace from April. Wheat is procured at minimum support price (MSP).
“It is a baseless allegation by the Delhi government that procurement centres are not operational. The state government had requested for opening of wheat procurement centres. We accepted their request and made operational all three centres from April 1,” FCI Delhi Region General Manager Sudhir Kumar told PTI.
Already, 15.8 tonnes of wheat has been procured so far and payment has been made to farmers, he said, adding that the procurement plan was decided in consultation with the state government.
Initially, wheat procurement target was kept at 1,000 tonnes for the 2021-22 marketing year (April-March) but later it was raised to 50,000 tonnes on central government’s direction, he said.
All arrangements including availability of gunny bags for wheat procurement are in place, he added.
On Wednesday, Delhi Agriculture Minister Gopal Rai had said that the FCI’s claim that it has already set up procurement centres in Delhi was “false”.
Rai had said the state government had requested FCI to set up counters in Narela and Najafgarh grain markets. To which, “the FCI replied, counters have been set up and procurement started on April 1. However, these claims are false,” the minister had said.
Delhi’s total wheat production is estimated at 83,000 tonnes in the 2020-21 crop year (July-June), as per the Delhi government data.