April 10, 2020 10:33:30 pm
The Punjab government Friday authorised the deputy commissioners to declare new mandis in their respective districts to meet the demands of social distancing while ensuring smooth procurement of the farmers’ produce. These would be in addition to the 3,800 mandis already notified this year for procurement operations, an official spokesperson said.
The decision was taken in a Cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh via video conference. The Cabinet also took stock of the preparations for the harvesting and procurement of wheat, scheduled to begin on April 15.
The Cabinet was informed that while 73 per cent of the state’s requirement for gunny bales had been met already, the remaining shortage of 7.2 lakh bales would be met with PP bags if the West Bengal government does not open production in time. As of now, West Bengal has only resumed transportation of the 27,000 bales which were ready.
Additional Chief Secretary (Development) Vishwajit Khanna said rules have been amended to make payments to farmers through the arhtiyas (commission agents) instead of direct bank transfer that was to be introduced this year. The arhtiyas would be paid within 48 hours of procurement and would, in turn, be required to pay the farmers in the next 48 hours.
Khanna informed the Cabinet that the 3,718 purchase centres set up in the state included 153 main yards, 283 sub-yards, 1430 purchase centres and rice mills. Nearly 137 lakh MT of wheat is expected to arrive in the mandis of which 135 lakh MT would be purchased by government agencies and two lakh MT by the private traders.
A farmer will be entitled to take multiple coupons each day or on different days depending on space in order to avoid rush in the mandis. About 27 lakh coupons would be issued by market committees to arthiyas. Farmers with each coupon will be entitled to bring one trolley having about 50 quintal wheat.
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