Ludhiana: Recent rainfall worries farmers awaiting grain lifting

  • Rameshinder Singh Sandhu, Hindustan Times, Ludhiana
  • Updated: May 16, 2015 20:16 IST

The rainfall which lashed the city recently has played havoc with the farmers as 80% of the wheat is lying in the open in the grain markets.

According to the Chandigarh's meterological centre, weather will remain clear and sunny in the coming days. 127mm rainfall has been recorded from March 1 till May 13, which includes 9mm from May 7 to May 13.

Showers had lashed Ludhiana late on Thursday night, followed by the rain in the wee hours of Friday.

Though Tota Singh, Punjab minister of agriculture and NRI affairs, had shared with Hindustan Times a few days ago that he had directed the deputy commissioners (DC) of all districts to ensure that wheat grains are saved from the inclement weather but it seems his suggestion has not been religiously followed.

Although, the lifting of wheat has gained momentum, a huge quantity of wheat is still lying in the open with no proper facilities to save the grain from showers. The farmers in the mandis said it seems that the mandi board authorities seem to have learnt no lesson from similar incidents in the past.

"A big quantity of grains across the state is drenched due to rainfall every year only because these are not covered. It results in the deterioration in wheat quality, thus slowing down the procurement process,"said Satnam Singh, a farmer. Another farmer, requesting anonymity, said, "Why can't the mandi board wake up and learn lessons from previous years? If the state government can spend crores on World Kabaddi Cup then why not on facilities at mandis? There is a need of covered sheds and cemented floors. There should be a trained team to manage the grain at the mandis to save it from inclement weather."

Agricultural experts opine that the grain must be kept dry as wet grain, if not dried in 24 hours, is not fit for consumption. "This is a serious concern. Wherever the grain has become wet, it should be dried as soon as possible. If ignored, it may rot and sprouting may also commence,"said SPS Brar, a senior extension specialist from Punjab Agricultural University (PAU).

Narinder Singh Tiwana, district mandi officer (DMO), could not be contacted despite several attempts.
Punjab is well known for its highest contribution to the central pool but when it comes to its highest achieved figure so far, it was 75.29% in 2005-06. "75% contribution to the central pool is a great achievement of Punjab but this year, due to unseasonal rains, it seems the maximum procurement target of India will be maximum 25 million tonnes instead of 30 million tonnes as set earlier. Punjab's procurement target of 120 lakh tonnes will also decline,"said senior economist from PAU, Mohinder Singh Sidhu.

Punjab's contribution to central pool

2005-06: 75.29%

2007-08: 38.17%

2008-09: 38.39%

2009-10: 43.82%

2010-11: 39.03%

2011-12: 38.69%

2012-13: 33.64%

2013-14: 43.43%

Source: Food Corporation of India (FCI)

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