No misappropriation in cash credit limit for food grains: Badal
Chandigarh, June 23 (IANS) Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Thursday refuted allegations regarding any misappropriation in the Cash Credit Limit (CCL) for food grains in the state.
“All accounts regarding it (CCL) were crystal clear as the state government merely purchased the food grains for the union government. There were no irregularities in this entire operation,” Badal told media on the sidelines of a function in Nakodar area of Jalandhar district.
The Badal government is facing the heat from opposition Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) over a Rs 12,000 crore alleged misappropriation. The issue got highlighted in April this year when the RBI stopped the release of CCL to the state government for wheat procurement.
Badal urged the Union government to ensure a permanent mechanism for reimbursing the entire expenditure done by state in procuring the food grains for the country.
“There is a vast difference between the expenses incurred by the state and price given by the central agencies,” said Badal, who met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in this regard on Wednesday and sought Modi’s “personal intervention” for early resolution of the CCL issue.
The chief minister claimed that he had apprised the prime minister about the problems being faced by states procuring food grains for the central government.
Modi set up a high level committee comprising officers of both the state and centre government to resolve these issues at the earliest.
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had earlier this year withheld the release of CCL, amounting over Rs 20,000 crore, for almost a month, pointing out to a “massive” gap in the money spent on procurement of food grains and the actual stocks lying in Punjab.
After Badal and state Food and Civil Supplies Minister Adesh Partap Singh Kairon, who is his son-in-law, rushed to New Delhi and sought Modi’s help, the RBI issued authorization of CCLA of Rs 17,523 crore for wheat procurement.
The gap in the procurement payment and actual stocks happened mainly during the rule of Shiromani Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party alliance government, which is in power in Punjab since 2007.
The CCL money is used to pay farmers for the crops the government agencies procure twice annually — wheat in April-May and paddy in October-November. Wheat procurement in Punjab started on April 1.