The stoppage of goods trains in Punjab has started affecting the ongoing paddy procurement process and storage of new foodgrains in the state. Due to the non-operation of good trains, work of lifting wheat from rice shellers has almost come to a standstill.
Most districts are now facing the shortage of bardanas (gunny jute bags) which are used to pack and store procured paddy grains.
Sartaj Singh Cheema, food and supply controller, Moga district, said that this time in Moga 13 lakh metric tonnes of paddy is likely to be procured out of which 8 lakh metric tonnes has already been procured. But now there is a shortage of bardanas to handle this paddy. He said that under procurement arrangements, 30% of these gunny bags were provided by the government while the remaining 70% were to be arranged by the sheller owners.
“Bardanas come to Punjab from Kolkata and now they aren’t reaching due to stoppage of trains. Some stock which was being brought by road has also been stopped at Faridabad (Haryana). If the bags do not arrive in the next few days, the procurement process in Moga, like other districts, may come to a standstill,” Cheema said, adding that efforts were being made to address this problem.
He said that with the suspension of train services, it was becoming very difficult to send wheat to the other states. “There is old wheat stock in the shellers. If the trains had not stopped, these shellers would have been empty by now but this time it has not happened yet. It is very important to run trains to send this wheat to other states,” he said.
Meanwhile, for accommodating its paddy produce, Ludhiana requires 97,000 gunny bags of which 70 per cent were to be provided by millers and the remaining by state food agencies. The data shows that food agencies have 22,820 bales (1 bale has 500 gunny bags), while 5,618 more are required for smooth procurement of paddy.
District Food Supply Controller (DFSC), Ludhiana West, Sukhwinder Singh Gill said that they are somehow managing with the available gunny bales, but if freight trains don’t start functioning soon, they will face a huge shortage. He said that they need at least 125 containers of gunny bales to fulfil requirement.
Officials said the district is also likely to face a shortage of space in godowns to keep the rice after milling as there is no movement of trains to supply the wheat and rice to other states.
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