Grain markets choked as sold produce yet to be freighted out

  • Ketan Gupta, Hindustan Times, Fatehgarh Sahib
  • Updated: Apr 24, 2015 18:44 IST

A crisis of sorts has developed at the mandis (grain markets) in the district as government and private agencies that have purchased stocks of wheat have yet to despatch it out.

Stacks of gunny sacks containing hundreds of thousands of tonnes of wheat are swelling as each day passes with farmers bringing in more wheat, but only little being transported out.

According to official data available with the local grain market office, 74,511 metric tonnes (MT) of wheat arrived at various mandis of the district, of which 43,085 MT has been purchased by private and governmental agencies.

However, the data shows that so far only 4,319 MT has been lifted - roughly 10% of the total purchases.

"The administration has assured us a number of times that they would speed up the (despatch) work, however, nothing has been done," said Raghbir Singh, a farmer.

Shortage fears

At present, there are more than 8.5 lakh sold wheat bags lying at the grain markets. The number only increases as every day around 10,000 MT of wheat is purchased every day in the district, which adds 2 lakh wheat bags to the stockpile.

This, traders say, has already started causing problems to farmers bringing in newer stock as trucks are finding no space to unload trucks.

It could mean that while the sold wheat lie unpicked, fresh supplies would be halted, triggering a shortage.

Causing losses

Sources say the delay has been caused as none of the purchasing agencies invited tenders for the despatch work.

Meanwhile, the arhtiyas (commission agents) association has said it will not be responsible for the wheat stocks lying in the Mandi from more than 72 hours.

The delay in dispatch, the agents added, is causing them losses as the wheat is drying up and would weigh less on scales than measured initially.

"We would ask the authorities to start the lifting process soon. And if any purchasing agency tries to claim shortage (due to loss in weight) from any arhtiya then we would find a way out," said Inderjeet Singh Sandhu, chairman of the Market Committee, Sirhind.

The tenders for lifting of wheat are to be advertised by the district food and supplies controller. The official was unavailable for comment despite repeated attempts.

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