The farmers arriving at the grain market here were in a rude shock when their produce had to undergo a moisture check and failing which they were denied entry into the market on Saturday.
The officials of the market committee were stationed near the entry gates of the market with the moisture metre and were not allowing those farmers whose wheat had more than the permissible moisture content of 12%.
The officials have put banners near the entry gates asking the farmers to arrive with grain having permissible moisture content and not to occupy the grain market for drying their grain.
“We have less space in the market and that is why we have been asked to convey the farmers not to come with wet grain. The orders have been issued by the higher authorities of our department to return those farmers whose crop fails to qualify the moisture content test,” said Balkar Singh, secretary of the market committee.
The farmers said that they treat the grain market as their second home where they can reduce the moisture content of the grain by spreading their grain under the sun.
“We have come from far off villages only to find that we won’t be allowed to occupy any space as our grain has high moisture content,” said Jiwan Singh of Bhaini Bagah village.
Members of the farmers union criticised the move and said that farmers have to face a lot of difficulty due to the measurement of moisture content at the entry gates.
“Most of the landless farmers completely rely on the grain market where they can dry their grain to qualify the moisture test. The farmers cannot store the grain in their fields where fire incidents are taking place everyday,” said Ram Singh of BKU (Ugraha).
METER NOT APPROVED BY PAU, LUDHIANA
Farmers also alleged that the moisture meter used by the market committee officials is not approved by Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, and the faulty machines further add to the problem of farmers.
Deputy commissioner Dharam Pal Gupta denied having knowledge of the issue and later assured that he will ask the officials to allow every farmer to the grain market.