Over 17 lakh tonnes wheat procured in Punjab despite rains

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Moga, Apr 18 (UNI) The five state government procurement agencies and the Food Corporation of India (FCI) have together procured 17.08 lakh tonnes of wheat so far in Punjab.

The procurement figure on April 17 last year was 22.08 lakh tonnes.

The main reason for less wheat having been purchased this year in the begining of the procurement season are the rains that hit Punjab at the start of the month. The rains have delayed harvesting and the farmers are hoping that the weather will remain clear in the coming days so that they can make use of the harvesting combines.

Punjab Mandi board chairman Ajmer Singh Lakhowal who reviewed the procurement operations here today hoped that Punjab will achieve its production target of 145.6 lakh tonnes which is marginally higher than last years target of 145 lakh tonnes.

An estimated 105 lakh tonnes of wheat is expected to be procured this year of which 93.4 lakh tonnes will be made by the government procurement agencies and the remaining by the private traders, he added.

''We are optimistic of meeting our 80 lakh tonnes commitment to the central pool'', Mr Lakhowal said while talking to mediapersons.

The Mandi board chairman said that all the deputy commissioners in the state have been directed to give top priority towards the procurement operations in the mandis and sub yards. He said that he has asked his officers to collect every penny of the mandi fee.

The deputy commissioners have been asked to take the services of Tehsildars and SDMs of their respective areas to ensure smooth and timely procurement of wheat.

He said that directions have also been issued to ensure timely payment to the farmers for their produce. The payments should be made within 48 hours of the purchase, he added.

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