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Withdrawal of wheat bonus to put farmers in trouble

Withdrawal of wheat bonus to put farmers in trouble
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First Published: Thu, May 17 2007. 02 19 PM IST
Updated: Thu, May 17 2007. 02 19 PM IST
By PTI
New Delhi: Wheat farmers in Punjab may face trouble in getting a good price for the foodgrain as the government seems firm in doing away with the bonus of Rs100 per quintal after the stipulated period of May.
“Farmers who have kept their stocks in anticipation of a better price in future would be in trouble once the wheat procurement is stopped by this month-end,” official sources said.
Bonus will go after the end of the procurement season, bringing wheat prices down to Rs750 per quintal (as against Rs850), which is the government declared minimum support price (MSP), the sources said.
“If the bonus is withdrawn, private traders would not be interested in buying at Rs 850 level and it will not be beneficial for those farmers who have withheld their stock,” a senior official of the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution said.
The government would not face difficulties in maintaining its buffer stocks as it has a comfortable reserves of over four million tonne of wheat at the start of April 2007 against last year’s two million tonne, the official said. Besides, the decision to import wheat would also be helpful in meeting the requirement for welfare schemes, the official added.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court declined on 17 May to stay the wheat import tender of one million tonne floated by State Trading Corporation. “India would not face difficulties in importing wheat this year as global production is expected to surge to 623 million tonne from 587 million tonne last year,” the sources said.
The government officials maintained that wheat import would be around five million tonne this year as procurement may not touch the target of 151 lakh tonne.
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First Published: Thu, May 17 2007. 02 19 PM IST