May 22, 1979, Forty Years Ago: Rice price politics
Major rice-growing states pleaded for a much higher procurement price for paddy than Rs 90 a quintal recommended by the Agricultural Prices Commission for the 1979-80 marketing season. Punjab, Haryana and Andhra Pradesh wanted it to be raised to between Rs 115 and Rs 125 per quintal for average quality. Chief ministers, food ministers and senior officials of the state governments put forward their pleas during talks with the Union Agriculture Minister Surjit Singh Barnala on the proposed price policy for kharif cereals. Barnala had invited the representatives in four groups for detailed exchange of views before formulating the central policy. During the discussions, it became clear that major rice-producing and deficit states were in rival camps. Consuming states were not interested in the procurement price going beyond Rs 95. Deficit states were opposed to any increase in the issue price.
Sanjay Gandhi and R K Trikha, who came to appear in the court of the Special Judge (Anti-corruption), were arrested along with more than 200 supporters for defying Section 144. They were all sent to Bareilly Jail as there was no accommodation in the district jail. This is the second time that Gandhi and Trikha have been arrested during the case proceedings.
China and Vietnam have carried out the first exchange of prisoners captured during their recent border war. The Chinese handed over an initial group of 120 sick and wounded soldiers, 10 of them described as stretcher cases. After they had crossed the frontier at Friendship Pass, the Vietnamese Red Cross signed a receipt, and then handed over 43 Chinese prisoners. The Chinese had cleared the frontier of landmines and other obstacles. Red Cross officials are expected to meet to work out a timetable for the release of the remaining prisoners.