Even as procurement and lifting of wheat has picked up at 78 grain markets of the district, delay in payments of the procured produce continues to hassle both the farmers and commission agents here.
As per details gathered from the district food and supply controller (DFSC) office, 84 per cent payment is yet to be made by the government procurement agencies to farmers and commission agents in the district.
Details reveal that out of a total of Rs 350.06 lakh, only Rs 57.16 lakh has been paid by the agencies concerned, while payments to the tune of Rs 292.90 lakh are still pending with the government.
The agents claim that they have not received a single penny to pay the farmers as advance and they are waiting for payment from the government agencies so that they could further disburse the same.
Some agents went on to claiming that the agencies were repeatedly asking them to make changes in purchase bills of procured wheat, as a result of which payments have got stuck.
In 78 grain markets of the district, about 3.40 lakh metric tonne (MT) wheat has arrived, of which 3.19 lakh MT was procured till Wednesday.
Details collected from DFSC office reveal that procurement agencies such as Punsup and Punjab Agro Foodgrains Corporation Ltd have not made a single payment while the Punjab State Warehouse Corporation has made 3 per cent, Pungrain 18 per cent, Markfed 44 per cent, and the central procurement agency FCI has made 16 per cent payment of procured wheat.
Gurpreet Singh, a farmer who has come to the new grain market in the city, said, “The state government was claiming that farmers will get payments for their produce within 48 hours of procurement but we have been waiting for the same for five days.”
A commission agent requesting anonymity said the agencies are asking to make changes in purchase bills sent to them and it is hindering the process of payment clearance.
He further said they have no clue as when they would receive their payments from the government even as farmers are visiting them frequently, thus making things difficult for them.
Agencies officials have been claiming that payments would be cleared in a day for last three days, but to no avail, he added.
District food and supply controller Balwinder Singh Dhillon assured that all pending payments will be made within a day so that farmers do not suffer in grain markets.