Punjab Mandi board in dire straits as RDF has yet to be released by the Center
The Punjab State Agricultural Marketing Board, also known as the Mandi Board, is facing a severe financial crisis as the Rural Development Fund (RDF) tasked by the state government to purchase grain has not been released by the Center for the rabi season) again.
Also, the amount of the fund for last year’s kharif season 2020 has been reduced. The Center owes to Punjab ₹760 crore RDF for the rabi season and ₹500 crore for the 2020 kharif harvest when only 1% accumulation was allowed against 3% charged by the state government.
Due to lack of funds, the loans raised by the board of directors accumulate and the development works, in particular in the rural areas of the Punjab, are at a standstill.
Concerns about the once-cash-rich council, which funded various state government spending, intensify as the Union’s Food and Public Distribution Ministry is in no mood to unlock the funds. funds anytime soon. As a result, loans up to ₹3,000 crores, including ₹120 crore of interest, accumulated for the board of directors.
Loans are part of the ₹3,976 crore raised by the board of directors by pledging future accumulations of funds for the state government debt cancellation program launched in 2018.
“We don’t have the funds to repay the loans and start the development work,” said a board member.
The RDF is managed by the Rural Development Council, of which the Chief Minister, Captain Amarinder Singh, is ex officio chairman. The maintenance of nearly 66,000 kilometers of roads in the rural belt is ensured by the fund.
“Our coffers have dried up because we have no funds for future work and to pay off debts. We are supposed to pay semi-annual installments to pay off the debt. Our last installment of ₹325 crore was paid by the state finance department, ”said the head of the board.
The board of directors had made use of loans to renounce ₹4,600 crore in debt of 5.5 lakh farmers under the state government agricultural exemption program with ₹1800 crore still pending. Too, ₹520 crore must be paid to 2.85 lakh of landless workers.
To repay the loans raised by pledging RDF, ₹26 crore is given on a monthly basis and ₹625 crore every six months.