Chandigarh, Apr 8 (FN Agency) Punjab Food and Civil Supply Minister Bharat Bhushan Ashu on Thursday said the wheat procurement would begin in the state from April 10 and all the necessary arrangements have been made in this regard. Mr Ashu said during the current season, the procurement agencies as well as the FCI would procure wheat on the fixed MSP of Rs 1975 per kg. He also said the State Agriculture and Farmer Welfare department has expressed the possibility of the arrival of 130 Lakh Metric Tonne (LMT) wheat in view of which, the targets of procurement of wheat have been fixed between various agencies such as Pungrain 8.5 LMT and 121.5 LMT wheat will purchased by Markfed, Punsup, Warehouse and FCI under Central pool.
He also said as per the directions of the Union Government, instructions have been issued regarding blue colour stamping of the wheat sacks to be sewn with blue thread. Mr Ashu said in view of the situation unfolding due to COVID-19, the Punjab Government had earlier taken the decision to start the procurement season from April 10 and the procurement process would continue till May 31. He also said token system has been introduced in mandis of state to enable the farmers to systematically bring their wheat to the mandis. Apart from this, the social distancing norms would be enforced in the mandis, in accordance with which box signs of 30 ft x 30 ft have been marked at 2 metres distance. The wheat would be unloaded in this area only and further, the bidding time for wheat has been fixed between 1000 hrs to 1800 hrs, he added.
He said the labourers would be provided with masks by the contractor of transportation in order to protect them from COVID-19. The procurement agencies and Mandi Board officials would ensure that the labourers remain in good health. The payments with regard to the wheat procured in Rabi season 2020-21 would be made through the online mode via Anaaj Kharid Portal. The Minister said all the DCs have been directed to make adequate arrangements for wheat procurement in mandis of State, Harvesting of wheat at time fixed, Chairman PSPCL has been directed to ensure availability of power 24 hours in the procurement centres and another rice mills cum Mandi Yards. The DGP has also been given in writing regarding providing required security in the procurement centres. Besides this, the Food and Civil Supplies Department has also set up a control room at Head Office level for redressing the complaints of farmers.