It has been eight days that the paddy procurement started in the district on October 1, but the Punjab government has failed to ensure its smooth functioning.
The procurement agencies are yet to be allotted rice mills to stock paddy for milling. Due to the failure, 90% of the paddy has not been lifted from the grain markets.
As the paddy arrival started picking up during the day on Wednesday, grain markets turned into storage yards. Lakhs of paddy bags were lying in the grain markets that were yet to be lifted.
Already struggling with technical snags in swapping machines which delayed payments, farmers and commission agents feared that if the lifting was not started soon, the cloudy weather might damage the paddy in grain markets.
According to a report of the mandi board office, only 10% lifting had been reported from the district's 12 grain markets.
Till Wednesday, only 4,564 MT paddy was lifted out of a total of 49,732 MT procured paddy in the grain markets.
Balwinder Singh, a farmer from Gakhlan village, said if the deadlock between rice millers and the state government was not resolved within a day, there would be no space left in the market. He said cloudy weather could also dampen paddy, resulting in the damage of grain's quality, affecting the farmers' income adversely.
Baljit Singh, another farmer, said that they faced such problems every year during the procurement season and the government used to take action only after the problems became severe. He said he would not harvest his paddy crop till these issues were not settled.
Talking to Hindustan Times, Rakesh Jain, president of Rice Millers' Welfare Association, Punjab, said it was sad that the SAD-BJP government, which claimed to be a farmer-friendly government, was apathetic to the problems of farmers and millers. He said none of the government representatives had come to resolve their issues even after nine days of the procurement season had passed.
He said this season, the crop was damaged due to rain and storm in the last weeks of September and the state government had not given them any relaxation in the delivery of paddy.
Jain said if the government would not consider their demands within a day, the glut of paddy would be stored in grain markets and farmers would be forced to keep their paddy on roads.
Despite repeated attempts, food supply officials could not be contacted for comment.
Paddy in figures
Procured: 49,732 MT
Lifted: 4,564 MT
Yet to be lifted: 45,168 MT