Chandigarh: Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has urged Union Minister for Textiles Dayanidhi Maran to announce the Minimum Support Price for cotton and direct the Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) to start procuring the crop in the State immediately to enable the farmers to get remunerative price for their produce.

In a letter to the Union Minister, Chief Minister Badal said the marketing season for cotton starts from October 1 and the Minimum Support Price for different grades of cotton is fixed by Textile Commissioner, Ministry of Textiles, which has not been notified so far. In the absence of MSP and price support operations by CCI, the farmers were making a distress sale at much lower prices.

The Chief Minister sought Mr. Maran’s personal intervention to immediately issue notification relating to MSP for different grades of cotton and also impressed upon him to issue directions to the concerned official of CCI to begin purchase at all the 40 purchase centres. Mr. Badal said that Punjab was one of the major cotton producing States as it produced about 11 per cent of the total cotton produced in the country. The production of cotton during kharif 2009 was estimated as 22 lakh bales from an area of 5.3 lakh hectares.

Meanwhile, 70,000 bales of cotton have arrived in ‘mandis’ of Punjab and it is being sold at a price Rs.2,550 to Rs.2775 a quintal. CCI General Manager R.C. Sarkar said, “CCI has not entered the market for procurement of cotton so far in view of large scale arrival of crop with higher moisture content varying between 14 and 18 per cent.” Last year, CCI bought 10.44 lakh bales of cotton from Punjab. --PTI