CM reviews wheat procurement operations
Chandigarh, April 30: Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Tuesday reviewed the wheat procurement operations and directed the Food & Civil Supplies Department to facilitate the farmers and ensure that every single grain is procured within 24 hours of arrival in the mandis so that no farmer faces any discomfort. He also directed the department to expedite the pace of lifting.
Divulging the details, a spokesperson of the Food and Civil Supplies Department said that more than 60% of the crop had already arrived in the Mandis. The arrivals have peaked with more than 10 Lakh MT arriving daily for the past 3-4 days and with the 3-5% anticipated increase in wheat production, the State was heading towards a record breaking purchase of more than 132 Lakh MT.
The spokesperson further informed that the department had already made elaborate arrangements for the procurement of wheat through the State Procuring Agencies. He pointed out that despite adverse weather conditions and untimely rains, the department had so far procured 79.66 Lakh MT in the state till April, 29.
The Department further highlighted that the State-wide capacity to lift wheat was limited to about 5.5 Lakh MT in a day whereas the daily arrivals have been more than 10 Lakh MT for the past few days. Consequently, certain mandis may be experiencing a glut like situation which is inevitable in every Mandi and occurs for about 6-7 days every year during the procurement season. The situation is expected to ease out after 3-4 days as procurement reaches its final stages. The delayed and sudden arrival of large quantities of wheat, due to bad weather conditions, has also contributed to the glut.
However, it was also emphasised that despite adverse weather conditions and untimely rains and consequent damage to the wheat grain, the State Agencies were procuring the wheat at a fast pace. This was evident from the fact that despite an inflow of 10.8 Lakh MT on April 29 (Monday) alone, only 3.6 Lakh MT remained unsold by the end of the day, which shows that more than 70% of the wheat was purchased on the day of arrival itself.
The spokesperson further said that till Monday 7.12 LMT of wheat has been procured from Jalandhar, Kapurthala, Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar and Hoshiarpur districts of Doaba region, 8.26 LMT from Amritsar, Gurdaspur, Tarn Taran and Pathankot districts of Majha region and 60.65 LMT of wheat has been procured from Ludhiana, Moga, Sri Muktsar Sahib, Bathinda, Mansa, Ferozepur, Fazilka, Sangrur, Barnala, Rupnagar, Sahibzada Ajit Singh Nagar, Faridkot, Patiala and Fatehgarh Sahib districts of Malwa region. Likewise, he said that district officials have been further directed to ensure prompt lifting of wheat from mandis to facilitate the farmers.
The spokesperson further said that a foolproof mechanism has been evolved to make timely payments to the farmers for their produce. He said that payment worth Rs.4300 crores has been so far released by the State Government for payment to the farmers. He said that in order to safeguard interests of food growers of state due to inclement weather conditions in last week, the State Government had sought relaxation in specification of wheat from Government of India (GoI) which has been recently granted.