Wheat farmers may get Rs50/quintal bonus

New Delhi: The current wheat crop situation following rains in the growing areas since Saturday will soon be assessed by an empowered group of ministers (EGoM) and the group may also take a decision on announcing a bonus for procurement of wheat by the government agencies for buffer stocks.

Punjab and Haryana have demanded a price of Rs850 a quintal for procuring wheat and the Punjab Chief Minister, Prakash Singh Badal, has also met the prime minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, to seek higher price for wheat.

The EGoM is likely to clear the payment of Rs50 a quintal as bonus to farmers for selling wheat to the procurement agencies. This will be in addition to the MSP of Rs750 a quintal declared by the Government in November.

The Centre may also agree on the bonus in view of elections to the Uttar Pradesh Assembly. The first leg of the polls will be held on April 7.

Last year, the Centre had paid a bonus of Rs50 over the MSP of Rs 650 a quintal. However, the decision came on April 21 and by that time, the farmers sold off their produce to private trade. Against a target to procure 160 lakh tonnes for buffer stocks, the Centre was able to buy only 93 lakh tonnes.