Already worried due to mounting losses due to untimely rain, farmers are being forced to sell their wheat production to private agents below the minimum support price (MSP) as government agencies are shying away from mandis in the district.
So far, government agencies have procured only 569 metric tonnes of wheat from the Kapurthala district, while on the same day last year government agencies had procured 1,640 metric tonnes of wheat.
Taking advantage of the situation, private agents are purchasing crop from the farmers for anything from `1,350 to `1,400 even though the MSP is `1,450.
Farmers after waiting long have sold about 1,376 metric tonnes of wheat to the private agents while many quintals of crop lie unsold at the district's grain markets.
And due to the lack of procurement migrant labourers, who are contracted by government agencies, are also sitting idle.
"After waiting for the government agencies for a week, I have forcibly sold my produce at `1,370 per quintal to a private dealer," said Amrik Singh, a farmer.
Sources said that after four states including Rajasthan, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh increased the relaxation for damaged grains to 10%, government agencies of Punjab are also expecting relaxation on specifications.
Presently, government agencies are stipulated to purchase grains with less than 2% damage, 4% slightly damage, 6% shrivelled or broken and 12% moisture content.
Sukhchain Singh, inspector Pungrain, said that most of the crop has lost the luster and damage has been crossed the 2% mark, which is acting as a major hindrance in procuring the grains.
"This season only some of the produce that has arrived at the grain markets fulfills all the specifications mentioned by the government," he said.
OP Behl, president Mandi Arhtia Association said that the government is now deliberately harassing the farmers, who are already facing trouble due to sudden rainfalls.
"Government should give relaxation in the specification so that farmers would not suffer more losses," he said.
Sources said that this year yield of wheat would face around 20% decline as compared to the total yield of last year as sudden rains have affected the production. Most of the grains have got discoloured or shrivelled due to repeated rainfalls in the region.
Meanwhile, Pungrain has procured 23 tonne, Markfed 102 tonne, Punsup 31 tonne, Warehouse Corporation 33 tonne and Punjab agro 380 tonne, while Food Corporation of India is yet to start procurement.
"Government agencies are doing slow procurement in hopes that the government would relax norms but we are trying to compel the agencies to procure maximum wheat," said Varinder Kumar, district mandi officer, Kapurthala.