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Following protests from farmers over delayed procurement of Kharif crops like Paddy and Millet, Union Minister Ashwini Kumar Choubey has announced that the procurement in two states of Punjab and Haryana will start from 3 October.

Usually, procurement of paddy from the two major north Indian states starts from 1 October. But due to the delay in monsoon, the Centre has postponed it to 11 October.

Farmer leaders have protested the Centre's decision and termed it as arbitrary as Paddy has already started arriving in some mandis and farmers have to wait for 10 more days till the purchase is done.

Earlier during the day, farmers broke police barricades and faced water cannons, including near Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar's house in Karnal, as they laid siege on residences of legislators and ministers in Punjab and Haryana on Saturday to protest the delay in commencement of paddy crop procurement.

In Punjab, farmers gathered outside the residences of several Congress legislators, including state assembly Speaker Rana K P Singh in Rupnagar and MLA Harjot Kamal in Moga, and staged protests over the delay in purchase of paddy crop.

After the announcement by Centre, Samyukta Kisan Morcha has said it will withdraw demonstrations.

Manohar Lal Khattar on Saturday met Minister of State (MoS) for Food & Consumer Affairs Ashwini Kumar Choubey to discuss the issue and demands from farmers.

On Friday, Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi, in his maiden visit to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi, too raised the issue of delayed procurement.

The procurement operation is undertaken by the central government's nodal agency Food Corporation of India (FCI) along with state agencies.

Farmers from both the states have been already protesting the three farm laws for over a year now, demanding complete repeal of the Acts.

The June-September monsoon rains are likely to start withdrawing from the northwest region from 6 Oct, the met department has said earlier. India received 9% lower rainfall than normal up to the end of August, but a third more than normal in September narrowed deficit to 1%, the IMD said.

Nearly half of India's farmland gets no irrigation and is dependent on the annual monsoon rains.

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