Punjab falls short of 1.65 crore gunny bags for wheat, sends alert to Centre
The shortage of gunny bags is being experienced in Punjab even as state procurement agencies are also using high-density polyethylene and polypropylene bags, apart from gunny bags.Updated: May 01, 2019, 13:29 IST
After the glut in Punjab mandis due to sudden influx of wheat, the state has a new worry. In the middle of procurement, the food and civil supplies department has fallen short of 33,000 gunny bales.
As one bale comprises 500 gunny bags, the figure comes out to be 1.65 crore bags.
The state government has put the onus on the Jute Corporation of India, which has caused delay in supplying the state’s orders for gunny bags with high demand coming from other states such as Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar where procurement had picked up.
After state food and civil supplies principal secretary KAP Sinha sent an alert, the Union ministry of consumer affairs, food and public distribution has asked state procurement agencies to fill freshly harvested and procured wheat of the current rabi season in already used bags, which are in possession of paddy shelling mills, arhtiyas and flour mills.
A new bag costs Rs 55 whereas the old one is priced between Rs 22 to Rs 30.
The shortage of gunny bags is being experienced in Punjab even as state procurement agencies are also using high-density polyethylene and polypropylene bags, apart from gunny bags.
Sinha’s communiqué to the Centre points out that the state has arrangement for filling 115 lakh tonne of wheat of the current season whereas 132 lakh tonne produce is expected to arrive and the state needs arrangement for packing 17 lakh tonne wheat. So far, state agencies have filled 85 lakh tonne wheat into the bags and have arrangement for 30 lakh tonne more.
He also said the state would wind up entire procurement operation by May 5.
Due to fall in temperature in March and rainfall a fortnight ago, wheat-maturing and harvesting got delayed. There is a big gap in arrivals and lifting, leading of accumulation of huge wheat stocks in mandis. Following rise in mercury, state mandis have witnessed sudden influx of crop leading to glut like situation in mandis and shortage of gunny bags.
The entire wheat procurement in the state requires 5.2 lakh bales of gunny which would entail a cost of Rs 1,200 crore, which includes the minimum support price at Rs 1840 per quintal, handling and storage charges.
The total procurement cost of wheat in the state this season is estimated to be Rs 27,000 crore.
CENTRAL TEAM VISITS STATE MANDIS
A team from the Union food ministry on Tuesday visited various mandis of the state again to assess the loss of luster in grains.
The team visited Ropar, Ludhiana and Jalandhar districts. It has already allowed relaxation of lustre loss up to 75% in Bathinda, Faridkot, Muktsar, Hoshiarpur, Fazilka and Ferozepur districts.
Meanwhile, farmers staged a protest near Rampura village in Bathinda district to oppose tardy wheat procurement. Led by the Bhartiya Kisan Union (Sidhpur Ekta), farmers blocked Bathinda-Rajpura highway for some time.