Punjab farmers keep wheat flow smooth this season

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Moga, Jun 10 (UNI) Effective steps taken by the Punjab Mandi Board to check flow of wheat to other states and to encourage farmers to bring their produce to the grain markets alongwith the bumper harvest was responsible for the record procurement of 105.36 lakh tonnes of the food grain this season.

Of the total procurement of 105.36 lakh tonnes, the government agencies purchased a record 101.98 lakh tonnes, while the rest was procured by private traders.

Disclosing this here today, Mandi Board Chairman Ajmer Singh Lakhowal stated that during April and May last year, only 77.65 lakh tonnes of wheat was procured by government and the millers. During the whole of last year the total procurement was 80.16 lakh tonnes.

The record procurement also helped the Mandi Board earn a revenue of Rs 209.11 crore in May and June as against the revenue of Rs 114.23 crore earned during the same period last year. This was mainly due to the launching of a special drive to check pilferage of market fee.

While bumper crop arrival was the main reason for the high prourement figures, checking flow of wheat also had its impact, Mr Lakhowal stated. The Mandi Board had set up of 27 joint nakas with excise and sales tax department officials to check wheat smuggling to other states.

The Board also persuaded farmers to bring their entire crop to the mandis instead of hoarding it, he added.

The Chairman pointed out that for the first time the Board levied a fine of 25 paisa per bag on agencies that failed to lift the procured wheat with 72 hours from the grain markets. The Board earned a sum of Rs 34 lakh as fine from procurement agencies.

In Ferozepur district, which topped in wheat production in India, a fine of Rs 15 lakh was collected from agencies for delayed lifting of wheat bags. In Faridkot district, a fine of Rs 10 lakh was collected followed by Bathinda district where Rs 8.95 lakh fine was collected.

The highest revenue of the Board was from Ferozepur district where it earned Rs 25.04 crore in the months of April and May followed by Sangrur with Rs 17.74 lakh.

Mr Lakhowal stated that the revenue earned by the Board would be spent on repair and construction of link roads. Besides around 200 new procurement points would be constructed in Punjab, he added.


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