Crescent Kashmir

Punjab CM Charanjit Channi to meet Prime Minister Modi today

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Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday and is expected to urge him that the Centre withdraw its letter on postponing the paddy procurement in the state from October 1.

This will be Channi’s first meeting with Modi after the senior Congress leader took oath as Punjab chief minister recently.

Channi is also likely to meet senior Congress leaders during his visit to the national capital amid the ongoing tumult in the party’s Punjab unit, sources said.

According to a senior Punjab government official, Channi will meet Modi. Sources said in his meeting with Modi, Channi is likely to urge the Centre to immediately start paddy procurement in the state.

The Punjab chief minister on Thursday had urged the Centre to withdraw its letter on postponing the paddy procurement in the state from October 1. Paddy procurement usually commences on October 1.

Channi had sought the prime minister’s personal intervention in advising the ministry concerned to withdraw its letter forthwith, allowing the state to start paddy procurement from October 1 instead of October 11, according to an official statement here on Thursday.

The Centre on Thursday postponed procurement of kharif paddy in Punjab and Haryana till October 11 as the crop maturity is delayed owing to recent heavy rains.     Crop procurement is undertaken by the central government’s nodal agency Food Corporation of India along with state agencies.

Channi is also expected to meet his party’s senior leadership in Delhi. A coordination panel will be set up, which is expected to be consulted before any major decisions by the Punjab government in future.

The decision to form the panel was reached earlier on Thursday after an over two-hour meeting at the Punjab Congress Bhavan between Channi and Navjot Singh Sidhu, who had tendered his resignation from the post of the state party chief on Tuesday.

The panel would comprise the chief minister, Navjot Sidhu and a representative of the All India Congress Committee, sources said. PTI

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