A record 218.73 lakh quintal cotton has been procured in Maharashtra despite the COVID-19 pandemic and onset of monsoon, the state cabinet was informed on Thursday.

 

This was the highest government procurement of cotton in the last ten years, said a statement from the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO).

 

The purchased cotton was worth Rs 11,776.89 crore, out of which farmers have been paid Rs 11,029.47 crore so far, it said.

 

The CCI and the State Cotton Federation had procured 91.90 lakh quintal and 54.03 lakh quintal cotton, respectively, before the coronavirus outbreak, it said.

 

During the pandemic, farmers preferred selling cotton at government procurement centres since market rates were lower than the minimum support price (MSP) of the government, said the CMO statement.

 

Since the coronavirus outbreak, the CCI procured 35.70 lakh quintal and State Cotton Federation procured 36.75 lakh quintal cotton, it said.

 

In total, 418.8 lakh quintal cotton has been procured by the government and private traders together. Procurement was made from 8,64,072 farmers.

 

Meanwhile, the state cabinet during Thursday’s meeting decided to provide compensation for damage to betelnut and coconut plantations caused by cyclone Nisarga in Ratnagiri and Raigad districts.

 

Instead of lumpsum compensation of Rs 50,000 per hectare, Rs 50 will be paid for each destroyed betelnut tree and Rs 250 per each destroyed coconut tree, the CMO statement said.

In another decision, election for Nanded mayor and deputy mayor was postponed by three months in view of the pandemic. The term of incumbents ended on May 1.