Farmers at Chahal grain market in the district on Thursday claimed that they had been sitting in the grain markets for days but procurement agencies had failed to buy the produce.
Farmers Jaswant Singh, Angrej Singh and Darshan Singh, all from Chambeli village, guarding their crop at the grain market, said, "We have been sitting in the market for four days. We unloaded the produce here on Sunday but so far no official from the procurement agency has visited us. There are no gunny bags in the market; drinking water supply comes from a village 1km away, so we have to bring our own drinking water with us."
Joginder Singh of Chahal, who has been camping in the market since Tuesday, said, "So far, nobody has arrived to buy the produe. There is a problem of drinking water as well as toilet in the grain market."
As the sun beats down with all its fury, there is only one small shed that gives some respite from the searing heat. A hand pump has been installed here but farmers say the water is not fit for drinking. The bricked floor of the grain market is also not clean.
"A few days ago, mustard straw was removed from the market floors by making an announcement in the village. Otherwise, the floor has either to be cleaned by the labour belonging to ahrtiyas or farmers themselves before unloading the produce," farmers claim.
Meanwhile, in the main market of Faridkot town, the work of lifting the produce began only on Thursday as the tenders for lifting were cleared by the authorities on Wednesday.
Gunny bags have covered all old floors of the market and the farmers have to unload the produce along the roads inside the market, sources claimed.
All four old sections of the market were filled with gunny bags.
"Drinking water is available at a distant place. There is no toilet in the nearby area. One can't leave the place for fear of someone stealing the produce," said a farmer.
Though the government claims to make payment within 24 hours, but even after four days, no payment had been made, claimed commission agents Pardeep Kumar and Baldev Kumar.
District mandi officer Kuldeep Singh Brar said, "The payments for procurement in the Faridkot grain market were started on Thursday."
They see the new system of e-payment through ahrtiya cards a time-consuming process, which has been launched by all agencies this year. "Earlier, we used to get cheques from the procurement agencies. But now we have to go to the officials of the agencies concerned with all documents such as bills, and details of gunny bags filled and unfilled; then a slip will be issued, which has to be sent to Chandigarh for the payment to be transferred into our account," claimed Mohinder Kumar, cashier of ahrtiya association.
"We procured 6,000 bags from the Chahal grain market on Thursday morning," claimed Jaspreet Singh Kahlon, district food and supply controller. Procurement by Pungrain had been started here, Kahlon added.
Deputy commissioner Ravi Bhagat said, "Lifting started in the grain market at Faridkot on Thursday morning as there was some problem and senior officials sorted it out on Wednesday evening. I have instructed all officials to start procurement in all the grain markets of the district. I will visit the grain markets of the district on Friday to sort out the problems, if any."