Though the Punjab government has asked various procurement agencies to start the procurement of wheat from April 1, the farmers of a dozen villages near the Ravi on the Indo-Pakistan border have been waiting to sell their yield for the past more than a month.
Having an area of more than 20,000 acres, including 2,000 acres across the fencing, which yields more than one lakh quintals of wheat, the farmers of Ghania Ke Bet, Laluwal, Gurchakk, Purana Wala, Kassowal, Saran, Saran Rajji, Dholie Goley and Mansoor face difficulty as they have to depend on a single temporary bridge.
Currently, because of the low water level, the lives of about 2,000 people, living in these seven villages, depend on the temporary bridge.
Though the government had set a purchase centre at Ghania Ke Bet village, none of the officials or agencies turned up to lift the crop, forcing the farmers to lift their yield themselves to the nearby grain market of Shajada Khurd village, which is too in a neglected state, at their own risk.
The negligence of the administration can be gauged from the fact that even after passing of more than a month, the procurement agencies have not supplied gunny bags to the commission agents.
"With the administration turning a blind eye to lifting our crop, many of us are not in a position to transfer the entire yield across the river at our own expense," said Gurdev Singh, a farmer of Ghania Ke Bet village.
He said that owing to regular power cuts, they had to use the costly diesel. Some of them, who have their land across the fence on the Indo-Pak border, have to remain at the mercy of the army officers of both the countries every time they want to visit their fields.
Gurmej Singh, a farmer of Mansoor village, said that for the past six days, he was waiting for an agency to lift his small yield, lying in the grain market of Shajada Khurd village, which he somehow managed to transfer after hiring a tractor-trolley.
Fed up with the everyday problem of being confined to their villages, the farmers said it would be easier for them to sell their crop to Pakistan if the government of both the countries agreed to that. Dera Baba Nanak market committee secretary was not available for comment.
FCI official inspects grain market
Upma Chaudhary, executive director, Food Corporation of India (FCI), North Zone, inspected the ongoing wheat procurement process at Sri Hargobindpur mandi in Gurdaspur district on Friday. She also held an interaction with the local arhtiyas and wheat-growers.