While India has recently imported eight lakh quintals of wheat from Australia as the wheat crop in the country has been highly damaged, the authorities at the Mullanpur mandi, located at the Raikot Road, are least bothered.
Reason: Thousands of wheat grain sacks are lying in the open since last several year, which as per experts might not be fit for consumption. According to villagers, who notice the sacks in open daily, years pass by but the sacks have never been lifted or any effort made to keep them in a covered area to keep it safe from inclement weather.
An official, who has been working here since a last few years, on condition of anonymity, said these sacks were placed here after 2005 harvest and in the subsequent years, sacks kept coming in till last year, but nobody had lifted these ever.
"As these sacks are in an open plinth and are exposed to inclement weather, buyers are well aware that grain here will be of very low quality and can be contaminated. Why will anyone buy these? When it comes to officials deployed here, how can they solve the issue when there is no basic infrastructure? No one from higher authorities is bothered to look into the matter." he added.
Locals said, "Heaps of garbage are lying near these sacks and must have already contaminated the grain. Most sacks have even got torn and grains are flowing out. Is government bothered that so many tonnes of grain are getting waste? All what is required is that it must be kept at a safe, hygienic and covered place or most importantly should be lifted from there as fresh grain will start coming to the mandis by April end," said Balkar Singh, a farmer.
Head of the agronomy department at PAU Gurmeet Singh Buttar said, "As grain sacks have been kept in the open since last many years or even months, the quality of the grains must have spoiled and will not be fit for consumption at all. One should not forget that due to constant rainy days, these grains get moist which affects its quality."
On being told the grave scenario, chairman of the Punjab Mandi Board Ajmer Singh Lakhowal said he would personally visit the spot and inspect and take required action. "It is unfortunate to know that son sacks of grain are lying in the open. I will get it lifted after a personal inspection. There is also need to make a place for new grain production that is expected to arrive in the mandis soon," said Lakhowal.
On a visit to the mandi, an official present there refused to share his identity, but only commented that if it gets lifted, it will be better.