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Slow lifting of wheat creates glut in Faridkot markets, traders threaten stir

It is mandatory for agencies to lift the crop within 72 hours of purchase.

punjab Updated: Apr 23, 2018 10:59 IST
Gagandeep Jassowal
Gagandeep Jassowal
Hindustan Times, Faridkot
Agriculture,Punjab news,Punjab farmers
Wheat waiting to be lifted at the Faridkot grain market.(HT Photo)

Farmers and traders in the district are a harassed lot as the ongoing wheat procurement season is marred with slow lifting leading to a glut-like situation.

As per procurement norms, it is mandatory for the procuring agencies to lift the crop within 72 hours of purchase to avoid a glut.

While around 3.5 lakh metric tonne wheat yield has been procured by purchasing agencies from the grain markets here, 2.6 lakh metric tonne is still to be lifted from 67 purchase centres of the district. At the Faridkot grain market, which has a total capacity of 40,000 metric tonne, only 10% has been lifted, sources said.

Sources said the situation worsened as there was no space to store the produce in markets. “Around 70% of the region’s wheat has arrived in the market. Due to slow lifting, there is no space to unload new produce,” said a market committee official. He alleged that the district administration failed to ensure lifting of the crop.

Farmers say they are worried that rain will destroy six-month of hard work. They have threatened a stir and asked authorities to speed up the process of lifting in grain markets.

Harbhajan Singh, a farmer, said they came to the market to sell their yield, but became victim of political rivalries. “Why can’t they spare us when we are already in a tough situation?” he asked. “The district administration has turned a blind eye towards tardy lifting of wheat, which has created a chaos now,” said Ashu Aggarwal, representative of the traders’ association.

Controversy around tenders

In Faridkot, the process has been marred by allegations and counter-allegations regarding rigging of the tenders. The Punjab and Haryana high court had intervened earlier following which tenders were allotted to Faridkot Paledar Co-operative Labour Society Limited.

However, last week, the food supply department cancelled its tender and allotted to a new contractor allegedly backed by an ‘influential politician’ of the ruling party, but it also couldn’t deliver.

District food supply department officials claimed that the situation will return to normal in two to three days. “We have issued strict direction to contractors to expedite lifting of wheat yield. I assure you that the lifting of purchased wheat will be done within 48 hours,” said Faridkot deputy commissioner (DC) Rajiv Prashar.

First Published: Apr 23, 2018 10:58 IST