Nawanshahr maize drier plant shifted | punjab | Hindustan Times
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Nawanshahr maize drier plant shifted

The cash-strapped SAD-BJP government has chosen to take a hit of Rs 50 lakh by its decision to shift the maize drier plant outside the Nawanshahr grain market. The decision has reportedly been taken to appease the powerful commission agent lobby in the district.

punjab Updated: Jun 05, 2013 19:45 IST
Jatinder Kohli

The cash-strapped SAD-BJP government has chosen to take a hit of Rs 50 lakh by its decision to shift the maize drier plant outside the Nawanshahr grain market. The decision has reportedly been taken to appease the powerful commission agent lobby in the district.

The cost of developing the plant has now escalated from 3.13 crore to
Rs 3.63 crore.

The development effectively scuttles the state government's plans to promote maize cultivation among farmers for which it had planned two such plants, at Nawanshahr and at Saila Khurd in Garhshankar. The farmers would have been able to dry their crop inside the grain market itself, ensuring a remunerative season.

In Nawanshahr grain market, the mandi board had selected 2.5 acres land and construction has started.

However, sensing an end to their trade, commission agents raised the bogey of shortage of space due to the plant. This plea was rejected by the mandi board.

Agents then managed to approach senior officials and ministers in the government, including the chief minister Parkash Singh Badal. Construction was then stopped and the project remained suspended for more than a month.
In fact, the mandi board also agreed to give another piece of land, around 3.5 kanals to the agents for procurement.

Different farmers' unions tried their best to ensure that the project stayed within the grain market.

Representatives of Bhartiya Kisan Union (Lakhowal) and Bhartiya Kisan Union (Rajewal) also met Ajmer Singh Lakhowal, the chairman of Punjab Mandi Board, but could not get the project to continue.

Mandi board sources said that commission agents opposed the plant, as it going to benefit maize farmers and reduce the profits of commission agents.
Talking to HT, district president of Arhitya association and Akali leader Manjinder Singh Walia said, "We are satisfied with shifting of the location of drier plant."

"Around 3.5 acres, reserved for developing a wood market, has been selected for the maize dryer plant."

District mandi officer Harmohinder Singh confirmed that the plant had been shifted and that this will increase the project cost.