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Sunday, May 29, 2022

Relief for Punjab, Haryana: Centre relaxes shrivelling of wheat norms

The farmers from these states had complained that the early onset of summer this year resulted in wheat grains shrivelling by nearly 18 per cent, much more than the permissible limit of 6 per cent.

Written by Kanchan Vasdev | Chandigarh |
May 14, 2022 6:15:14 pm
wheat production punjabExport of all wheat, including high-protein durum and normal soft bread varieties, were moved from “free” to the “prohibited” category. (Representational Photo)

The Centre has allowed relaxation in norms for shrivelled wheat grains by up to 18 per cent in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh, thereby giving relief to farmers who suffered losses owing to a fall in the yield of wheat crop this Rabi season.

The farmers from these states had complained that the early onset of summer this year resulted in wheat grains shrivelling by nearly 18 per cent, much more than the permissible limit of 6 per cent.

In a letter to secretary of food and civil supplies department, Punjab and additional chief secretary, department of food, Haryana, the Union ministry of consumer affairs, food and public distribution informed that the limit of shrivelled and broken grains of wheat in all districts of Punjab and Haryana, apart from the Union territory of Chandigarh, may be relaxed up to 18 per cent against the existing limit of 6 per cent under uniform specifications without any value cut.

The letter further states that the wheat so procured shall be stacked and accounted for separately.

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Also, it mentions that the relaxation granted is subject to the condition that any financial or operational implications owing to the relaxation shall be the sole responsibility of the state governments of Punjab and Haryana, and the Chandigarh administration.

Any deterioration in wheat stock procured under the relaxed scheme during storage shall be the sole responsibility of the state governments of Punjab and Haryana including UT Chandigarh, the Centre said.

The Punjab and Haryana state governments had written demi-official letters to the Centre seeking relaxation in uniform specifications of wheat for Rabi Marketing Season (RMS) 2022-23 owing to extreme, sudden and unprecedented heat wave in the region.

The communication also stated that the matter was examined and in order to reduce the hardship of farmers and to avoid distress sale of wheat, the competent authority has decided to accord to the request of the states. Accordingly, it has been decided to procure wheat in Punjab and Haryana including UT Chandigarh with the relaxation in the uniform specifications of wheat for central pool procurement.

In Punjab, the shrivelling of wheat grains was a major political issue especially for the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) that formed the government for the first time in the state. Chief Minister Bhagwant Singh Mann had also taken up the matter with the Centre seeking relaxation. He had stated that the farmers were not to be blamed as shrivelling had taken place due to the early spell of heat wave this time.

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