The lifting of the procured wheat here has become a serious problem for commission agents and the labour working in the grain markets of the district.
So far, only about 35% lifting has taken place in the district while most of the stock has been lying and piling up in the grain markets in the open.
Even notices issued by the district mandi officer to the procurement agencies two days ago to lift the produce have failed to elicit any response.
“We had issued notices to the procurement agencies to lift the produce from the premises of the g rain markets of t he district or else face 25 paisa per bag per day as penalty for non-lifting, but we have not got any reply from any agency by Wednesday, the last day to receive the reply. So, we are again going to issue notices,” said Kulbir Singh Matta, district mandi officer.
“We are getting the produce lifted on our own and we have to pay 2 per bag for lifting. The contractors have done little lifting so far. Even the contractors have not required labour or trolleys. The small commission agents are getting crushed in this system as they have to guard the procured produce besides compensating any kind of shortage due to dryness of the produce after so many days after procurement,” said a commission agent.
“You people continue clicking photos of the piling up stock daily and publish news. But nothing moves here,” commented some labourers while photos of uplifted stock were clicked on Wednesday.
“The contractors are the men of powerful local politicians and they do not care for anybody. We are also facing a lot of problems and harassment because we have to guard the produce day and night as bags filled with wheat can get stolen any time,” they said.
“Even some of the commission agents and labourers engaged to work in the grain market are trying to have the produce lifted by paying on their own to get rid of the procured stock,” they claimed.
The commission agents claim that as per the rules, the lifting has to be done within 72 hours of the procurement of the produce, but even after nearly 3 weeks of the procurement, the whole grain market is full of bags filled with wheat.
According to the data available with the Mandi Board, about 2.52 lakh metric tonnes of the procured wheat stock has been lying unlifted in the district which makes about 65 per cent of the total procurement.
“I have instructed the officials concerned to speed up the lifting and also held a meeting of the officials in this regard. About 4 lakh bags of wheat are being lifted daily from the grain markets of the district and within a few days, the lifting would be done, ” said Mohammad Tayyab, deputy commissioner, Faridkot.