Wheat procurement: Govt agencies missing in Fatehgarh Sahib, moisture to blame

  • Ketan Gupta, Hindustan Times, Fatehgarh Sahib
  • Updated: Apr 16, 2015 21:07 IST

Resentment prevailed among farmers of Fatehgarh Sahib district as none of the five government agencies have come forward to procure their produce from any of the 34 procurement centres in the districts.

The problems were exacerbated by the heavy downpour on Thursday, which increased the moisture level of the harvested crop and also delayed the harvesting of the standing wheat crop. Much of the crop has already been ruined by rain and hailstorm which lashed the sate from mid-February to mid-March.

Although the aarhtias (commission agents) have provided the tarpaulin sheets to cover the harvest, water has still managed to seep in and moisten the produce.

"I have been in grain market for the past 4 days and no one has visited for procurement. Moreover, the rain has added to the problems as it is has increased the moisture level to 14-15%, which is far above the maximum level decided by the government of 12%," Harnek Singh, a farmer from Rajindergarh village.

Singh added that if the weather did not improve soon then it would take more than 5-6 days to let the wheat dry so that moisture levels dropped below 12%.

"Farmers are now just waiting for a miracle that will help sell their produce at a reasonable rate," he said.

As of now, only 90 metric tonne (MT) wheat has been purchased, that too by a single private firm.

According to the data available with the district mandi officer, last year, till April 17, government agencies had procured around 40 MT of wheat. However this year, not even a single what grain has been purchased till now.

On the other side, a local aarhtia said, private as well as government agencies have not give any labour contract to anyone. The procurement process starts only 2-3 days after this is done.

District food and supply controller, Harjit Kaur said, moisture levels are too high due to which no government agency has turned up till now. But the procurement would start soon.

Kaur said, tenders for labour contracts have been advertised and would be awarded soon adding that officials of purchasing agencies are already present in the grain market and adequate amount of gunny sacks have been arranged.

The weather department, meanwhile, has forecasted in favour of the farmers as it has predicted that there will be no rainfall in coming days.

"If the situation stayed same and the government did not buy our wheat then farmers would have no other way out than suicide," said an old farmer who did not wished to be named.

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