The state government’s fresh order to fill 40 kg paddy in a gunny bag is creating problem in the procurement process in grain markets with most of the agencies not making any purchase on the first day of the procurement season on Wednesday.
During the last paddy procurement season, 35 kg paddy was allowed to be filled in a gunny bag but is becoming difficult to pack 40 kg in the same bag.
The problem does not end here as 42,000 bales of gunny bags (one bale has 500 bags) with a capacity of filling 35 kg paddy have already reached in the district and the agencies have started demanding new gunny bags for procurement.
Despite much hue and cry by the procurement agencies, the government has not taken any decision on the quantity of paddy to be filled in a gunny bag as of now.
On September 23, the Punjab Mandi Board had written to all district board officials informing them about allowing 35 kg paddy also can also be filled.
But the government on Wednesday again made it clear that only 40 kg paddy has to be filled in a bag which is becoming a headache for the agencies since the bags cannot take this much of quantity.
While the government agencies did not come forward to procure paddy, private traders procured only 603-tonne paddy on Wednesday.
As much as 1,234 metric tonnes of paddy was purchased on the very first day of procurement season last year.
A food supply department official said there are several problems they were facing due to the new order to fill 40 kg in a bag.
Moreover, there is high moisture content in paddy and it will take some time to bring the moisture level to the permissible limit of 17 per cent, he added.
District manager of a procurement agency said they were facing problem in filling 40 kg paddy in a bag and they have apprised senior officials about this.
“We have asked the food inspector to keep tabs on the situation and see filling of paddy in gunny bags takes place in a proper manner at the grain markets,” he added.
He said it was upon the government to decide the specifications of filling paddy in bags.
Workers at the new grain market have been drying paddy under the sun to reduce the moisture content for a couple of days but partly cloudy weather continues to hamper the process, adding to the worries of farmers, commission agents, agencies and the department concerned.
District food and supply controller Rakesh Singla said, “There is unnecessary hue and cry over filling of 40 kg paddy in the district. We, however, are looking into the matter."