Punjab wheat procurement reaches 100-lakh tonne mark in 20 days
Wheat procurement in Punjab reached the 100-lakh tonne mark on Tuesday since the produce started arriving in the state’s grain markets on April 15, even as there were apprehensions amid the ongoing lockdown in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak that necessitated following of social-distancing norms.
With 4.74 lakh tonne wheat reaching the mandis on Tuesday, the cumulative arrival so far is 101 lakh tonne and purchase 99.67 lakh tonne.
Despite certain glitches in the operations, the state departments of food and civil supplies, and agriculture call it a successful operation carried out in a better manner than the previous rabi procurement seasons. Senior officials say if all goes well the procurement will be over in 10 days from now, as compared to the last year when the operations continued till May 28.
“Following the social distancing and other protocols was a huge challenge. We have overcome the tough phase,” said additional chief secretary Viswajeet Khanna, who heads the state-level committee on procurement and harvest.
Amid the fast pace of wheat arrivals, the departments concerned are worried 40% of total procured produce (40 lakh tonne) is yet to be lifted from the mandis. The shortage of gunny bags may also hamper the last leg of procurement.
As per reports, the state is facing a shortage of 12,000 bales of gunny bags and sending them to all 4,100 procurement centres will take some time.
“We have asked the procurement agencies to purchase one-time use gunny bags so that operations are not affected. These will be purchased from flour mills, arhtiyas and rice shelling mills,” said principal secretary (food and civil supplies) KAP Sinha.
Secretary (agriculture) Kahan Singh Pannu said barring some areas in the Majha belt wheat harvesting is almost complete. “We are hoping to touch total arrivals to the tune of 130 lakh tonne,” he said.
145 FARM FIRE CASES SO FAR
At least 145 cases of stubble burning have been detected in the current rabi season till date.
On Tuesday, 25 cases were reported — Kapurthala (8), Ferozepur (4), Hoshiarpur (3), Fazilka and Ludhiana (2 each) and one each in Bathinda, Faridkot, Gurdaspur, Jalandhar, Sangrur and Moga.
In 2019 and 2018, as many as 563 and 1,826 such cases were detected during the same period.