After a great hue and cry over the state government’s fresh orders to package 40-kg paddy in a gunny bag this procurement season, a team comprising three senior officials of the central ministry of food and supply on Sunday visited three grain markets in the district to take stock of the situation and prepare a report on this.
The officials along with employees of district food and supply department surveyed the grain markets in Nakodar, Shahkot and Malsiyan.
They reviewed the packaging process of gunny bags with 40-kg quantity of paddy. It was found that only 37 kg paddy was filled in a gunny bag. They also videographed the packaging process at these grain markets.
The of ficials were also scheduled to visit the Lohian grain market but they left for Ferozepur district to survey of the packaging process. They will be visiting grain markets in other districts too.
Due to the state government’s fresh orders, most of the agencies have not made much purchase in the first five days of the procurement season since it started on October 1.
Sensing that the government agencies are not coming forward to purchase the harvest, traders have now started buying paddy lower than the minimum support price (MSP) of Rs 1400 per quintal. The district manager of a procurement agency said they were facing problems in packaging 40 kg paddy in a gunny bag and they had apprised senior officials about this.
“The senior officials justified our concern since packaging 40 kg in a gunny bag is not possible. The government should immediately withdraw this order or we will suffer huge losses,” he added.
Another official said 35 kg paddy was allowed to be packaged in a gunny bag last year but is becoming difficult to fill 40 kg in a bag this time.
He said the gover nment should provide relief or it will have to arrange 42,000 bales of gunny bags (one bale has 500 bags) with a capacity of 40-kg quantity.
On September 23, the Punjab Mandi Board had written to all its district officials allowing them to fill 35 kg paddy in a bag.
On October 1, the state government, however, again made it clear that only 40 kg paddy has to be packaged in a bag.