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Punjab govt’s nod to use of tractor-trailers in foodgrain transportation

Distance cap: These allowed to cover 25km from procurement centre to the storage point.

punjab Updated: Apr 26, 2018 10:34 IST
Gurpreet Singh Nibber
Gurpreet Singh Nibber
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Punjab govt,foodgrain transportation,tractor-trailers
The decision has been taken to prevent any attempt by transporters to indulge in cartelisation in the ongoing rabi season.(HT File)

The Punjab government, on Wednesday, notified the use of tractor trailers for transportation of wheat from mandis and procurement centres to storage facilities. Over the past 8-10 years, transporters, mainly truckers, have been doing the job. However, the government has said that it had been ‘fleeced’ due to the excessively ‘high transport rates’.

Now, tractor trailers have been allowed to transport foodgrain up to 25km, of which a maximum of 12 km, could be on state or national highways. The required amendments have been made in the Motor Vehicle Act, 1989.

Food and civil supplies director Anandita Mitra told HT that the need for tractor trolleys arose as an alternative to truck for transporting foodgrain for short distances.

“The need for transportation increases manifold in the procurement season. So, we decided to allow the use of tractor trailers. It will give additional income to farmers and also accelerate the government’s process of food grain storage,” said Anandita.

Till April 1, when the procurement season started in the state, of 395 clusters, tenders for transportation had been finalised in only 100-odd clusters.

The government apprehends a boycott from the truckers when procurement reaches a peak this season. At the onset of the procurement season, the Punjab government had contemplated invoking the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) on transporters to ensure a smooth process. Later, the government said that the need did not arise.

Till April 1, when the procurement season started in the state, of 395 clusters, tenders for transportation had been finalised in only 100-odd clusters.

In Jalandhar, Barnala, Sangrur, Ferozepur and Patiala districts, no tenders were received from truck operators who stayed away due to the cap on rates that the state government had imposed in its foodgrain transportation policy for 2018-19. The authorities have opted for fresh tenders, which will be opened in the first three working days of next week.Six government procurement agencies, including the Food Corporation of India, have a wheat procurement target of 130 lakh tonne this time and arrivals have begun in full steam.

First Published: Apr 26, 2018 10:34 IST