Labour shortage affects grain markets in Punjab

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Ludhiana (Punjab), Apr 23 (ANI): Low inflow of labour from Bihar coupled with bumper wheat crop due to early ripening has created chaos in Punjab's grain markets that are already filled with wheat crop of previous years.

The shortage of labour has affected harvesting, procurement and lifting of the crop.

"More than 56 percent of the total crop procured by the government is still lying in the open in grain markets across the state," said a top brass at the grain market.

A glut of nearly 760,000 tonnes of wheat has increased the problems of the procurement agencies, which are already coping with the shortage of labour.

It is reported that on account of the job opportunities created by the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act for the labour class in Bihar, this year the flow of migrant labourers is less than one fourth, compared to corresponding period last year.

The farmers here are feeling the heat of low influx of migrant labourers, as the local labourers have increased the rate of harvesting, thus most of the farmers have opted for mechanical harvesting.

"We have taken 25100 bags (of wheat) out 37414 bags, which we received for procurement. The stock of three- four agencies is lying here, so there is a problem of lifting," said N K Jain, Inspector, Punjab State Civil Supplies Corporation Limited.

The farmers are worried as their stock is lying in the open.

"I came here last week; my stock is still lying in the open. I brought production of five Keelas (207800 square feet). The stock of agencies is still lying and there is no labour to lift the stock," said Kavinder Singh, a farmer.

"The shed is made for farmers, but agencies stocks have already occupied that space. I am really worried," he added.

The state officials have, however, said the problem would be sorted out in next two-three days. (ANI)

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