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Posted at: Apr 17, 2018, 12:42 AM; last updated: Apr 17, 2018, 12:42 AM (IST)

Wheat lifting process stuck, farmers suffer

Wheat lifting process stuck, farmers suffer
Wheat bags lying at the Faridkot grain market on Monday. Tribune photo

Balwant Garg

Tribune News Service

Faridkot, April 16

As the lifting of wheat procured by various purchase agencies at the Faridkot grain market is caught in the political cobweb for the past over one week, over five lakh gunny bags of the foodgrain, which are lying at the grain market, are causing inconvenience to the farmers and the commission agents.

As there is not much space at the grain market and most of it has been occupied by the wheat-filled gunny bags, the farmers are forced to unload their produce by the roadside.

Heaps of gunny bags can be seen everywhere in the market. As the political interference in the allotment of tenders for the cartage and lifting work is stalling the transportation and movement of wheat from the grain market, the authorities remain toothless, fearing annoyance of political leaders.

“The problem of lifting would be solved soon as we have strictly directed the contractor to lift the procured wheat at the earliest. Various procurement agencies have issued notice to the contractor over delayed lifting in Faridkot,” a senior functionary in the district administration.

As per the norms, it is mandatory for the contractor to lift the produce from the grain market within 72 hours of procurement, the official said.

However, the contractor is reportedly facing problem in making wheat lifting. Known for his political allegiance to the Akalis, the contractor on Monday asked all commission agents to make their own individual arrangements to transport wheat from the grain market to the stores of procurement agencies.

The contractor offered to pay Rs 1.5 per bag as transportation and lifting charges.

Though under huge pressure to vacate the grain market of procured wheat to create space for the arrival of new stock, the commission agents are in no mood to take the offer as transporting wheat at Rs 1.5 per bag is financially not viable.

The minimum rate for transportation is Rs 7 per bag. As there is shortage of trucks for transportation, the commission agents have to rely on tractor-trailers.

Earlier, the use of tractor-trailers for commercial purpose was illegal in Punjab, but the state government has now made an informal announcement to use these vehicles for the transportation of wheat.

However, before using tractor-trailers for wheat transportation, these vehicles have to get a permit from the Transport Department.

As there is no official notification about the new policy so far, the Transport Department is not making registration of these vehicles.

Bharat Bhushan, president of the Grain Market Dealers Association in Faridkot, said the grain dealers as well as farmers had been facing problems since the arrival of wheat in the market.

He said they had taken up the issue with the secretary of the market committee and the administration, but no efforts have been made to resolve it.

It is not only in Faridkot but similar is the situation at the Kotkapura grain market where the transportation of wheat is also caught in a political logjam over the allotment of contract.

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