New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Amid massive protests in different parts of Punjab and Haryana, MoS Food & Consumer Affairs Ashwini Choubey on Saturday announced that both Punjab and Haryana will start procuring paddy crops from tomorrow. His announcement came after Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar announced the same after meeting Choubey. 

The Centre on Thursday postponed procurement of Kharif paddy in Punjab and Haryana till October 11 as the crop maturity is delayed and moisture content in fresh arrival is beyond permissible limits owing to recent heavy rains. 

Choubey, who is Minister of State for Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution, met with Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar here in the national Capital. "The procurement (of Kharif crops) will start from tomorrow in Haryana as well as Punjab," Choubey said as quoted by ANI.

Meanwhile, Khattar said, "Due to delay in monsoon, the Central Government had postponed the start of procurement of paddy and millet to October 11 from October 1 this year... There are demands for an early start. The procurement will start tomorrow."

The decision came amid the protest by farmers in Haryana and Punjab against the Central government Friday's decision to postpone procurement of paddy under Minimum Support Price (MSP) operation from October 1 to October 11 in Punjab and Haryana.

As per a press release issued by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution on Friday, the Central government has decided that procurement of paddy under Minimum Support Price (MSP) operation would commence from October 11 in Punjab and Haryana and has advised all the agencies to gear up to help farmers.

Widespread rainfall has been experienced across Punjab and Haryana during the second fortnight of September and untimely showers have affected the standing paddy crop in both the agrarian states, the ministry said.

Farmers expressed apprehension that they would suffer if their crop is not purchased at the grain markets. Paddy crop, though in small quantity, has started arriving in mandis especially in border areas of Punjab. They questioned where the farmers, who have brought their crop at mandis, will go if their product is not purchased. Some fear that they would be forced to sell their crop below the minimum support price (MSP) to private traders.

Earlier in the day, farmers broke police barricades and faced water cannons, including near 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 Karnal, the Haryana Police used water cannons to disperse protesting farmers after they tried to lay siege on Khattar's residence, while in Shahabad and Panchkula, the agitators used tractors to break police barricades to reach houses of BJP leaders, including Haryana Minister Sandeep Singh, officials said.

The situation became tense in a few places in Haryana and Punjab after minor clashes broke out between farmers and police. In several places in these states farmers after reaching residences of ministers, legislators and MPs, parked their food grain-laden trolleys in front of their houses.

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 the purchase of paddy crops.

Posted By: Talibuddin Khan