"We have requested the Centre to extend the deadline until April 15 to complete procurement of 30 lakh metric tonnes paddy from farmers during the current kharif season as the job could not be completed by March 31 due to various exigencies," Food and Consumer Protection Minister Shayam Rajak said in the legislative assembly.

He was replying to a debate on his department's budgetary demand of Rs. 2134.77 crore for 2015-16.

As on March 31, 17.90 lakh metric tonnes paddy has been procured from farmers through State Food Corporation (SFC) and Primary Agriculture Credit Societies (PACS)/Vyapar Mandal at 572 procurement centres across Bihar, he said, adding the procurement was underway to meet the target of 30 lakh metric tonnes.

Amid interruptions by the BJP members, the Minister defended inordinate delay in paddy procurement and blamed the Centre for putting in place stringent guidelines in this regard.

This included stipulations that paddy should not carry more than 17 percent moisture.

It made the task all the more difficult as the weather pattern in Bihar is different from other parts of the country, he added.

Rajak also slammed the Centre for setting a target of only 20 lakh metric tonnes paddy procurement from farmers during 2014-15 kharif season and said the state government, due to its benevolent attitude towards farmers, decided to procure another ten lakh metric tonnes.

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