With rain playing havoc with wheat grains lying in open mandis, the miseries of the farmers have been compounded due to the non-purchase of the produce by government procurement agencies.
The farmers on Sunday held protest against the Punjab government, led by Congresss MLA Lal Singh, who accompanied protesting farmers from his constituency Sanaur and announced that if the government failed to start procurement by Monday, he would lead the farmers to block the roads.
"Officially, procurement started since April 1, but no government agency is procuring the wheat. Tonnes of wheat, which had arrived in markets, has got wet due to rains as the agencies didn't procure it on time. And now farmers have to bear the losses," said Lal Singh while talking to mediapersons.
He assured the farmers that he would talk to the chief minister to resolve the issue at the earliest. Otherwise, the Congress will join the farmers' protests," he announced.
Meanwhile, a release issued by the Foodgrains Procurement Employees Committee said due to the rains, the moisture content had increased in the grains, apart from the fact that the shine of grain had been lost. "Till the government will not relax the moisture content and lustre loss specifications, we won't purchase the wheat," said Vidhu Shekher Bhardwaj, president of committee.
The committee also handed over a memorandum to the deputy commissioner to ask the CM to take up the issue of lustre loss with the Centre, which has to relax the procurement norms for the national pool purchase.
Farmer leader Satnam Singh Behru said the government must announce some bonus for affected farmers, apart from resolving all issues of procurement agencies. "If the government fails to ensure smooth purchase of wheat, we will launch a massive agitation across the state," he added.