Already battling with high moisture content and discolouring of paddy grains, farmers are now feeling brunt of poor arrangements made by the district administration for procurement and lifting of their produce at different purchasing centers across the district.
The paddy procurement season that gained momentum after October 17 has exposed inefficiency of the administrative authorities in ensuring constant lifting of purchased stock, which has resulted in glut-like conditions in the grain markets.
An estimated 4.75 lakh metric tonne of paddy have reached various purchasing centres, of which 4.6 lakh MT have been procured by various purchasing agencies.
According to information, of the total procured paddy, around 2.5 lakh MT is yet to be lifted by the agencies and private traders.
A random survey of different grain markets reveals that the procured paddy in gunny bags has occupied most of the space at various grain markets and a big letdown to the farmers who are yet to bring their produce to mandis. And thus, the procurement norm makes it mandatory for procuring agencies to lift their crop within 72 hours of the purchase to avoid any glut-like conditions at purchasing centres.
One of the senior officials of a procuring agency said the lifting problem would be immense in days to come as, so far, only 25% of the yield had arrived and procured at the grain markets.
In Patiala district, around 2.31 lakh hectares was under paddy cultivation that fetched around 14 lakh MT yields.
“With the slow lifting conditions prevailing in grain markets, shortage of space for unloading fresh yield may hamper the procurement process in days to come,” said an official.
Dilbagh Singh, one of the farmers at Patiala grain market, said he was forced to unload his produce under open sky, as sheds were already occupied by the procured stocks.”
“The unfavourable weather conditions have already affected our produce, and moist conditions under the open sky making it further difficult for us to protect our produce from moisture, especially in nights when temperature dips,” he said.
District controller food and civil supplies (DCFCS) Ajayveer Sarao said increase in the quantity of paddy arriving at mandis for over past four-five days resulting in slow lifting.
“Nothing is wrong with the 72-hour deadline for lifting the procured paddy, as the agencies have already been following it and have lifted around 60% of the procured paddy. The snail pace of day-to-day lifting of same day's purchase due to heavy arrival of paddy in the past few days has created such situation,” he said.