ACS Development reviews wheat procurement preparedness plan to ensure seamless purchase amid covid-19
All set for smooth procurement of wheat through 3691 purchase centres across state- Viswajeet Khanna
Chandigarh: On the directives of Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, the Punjab Government has made elaborate preparations to ensure smooth and hassle free procurement of wheat during Rabi Marketing Season-2020-21 amid trying circumstances due to Covid-19.
Taking stock of arrangements to ensure that every single grain of farmers produce would be procured at all costs in compliance with the Chief Minister’s commitment, Additional Chief Secretary Development Viswajeet Khanna said the all the requisite arrangements are in place by the Mandi Board well in advance for the procurement which will begin from April 15 and continue till May 31 and if need be, till June 15.
Divulging the preparedness plan for the wheat procurement during the current RMS, ACS(D) stated that the Cash Credit Limit of Rs. 22,900 crore has already been approved by the Centre to ensure prompt and seamless procurement operations in the state.
The ACS further revealed the that foolproof arrangements have been made, in wake of Coronavirus,to ensure procurement of wheat in all 22 districts by creating a vast infrastructure of 3691 purchase centres including 153 main yards, 280 sub yards, 1434 purchase centres besides adding 1824 yards of rice mills specially during this season. He also mentioned that nearly 137 lakh MT of wheat is expected to arrive in the mandis, of which 135 lakh MT would be purchased by government agencies while two lakh MT is likely to be bought by private traders. Khanna said that the Centre has fixed the MSP of wheat at Rs 1925 per quintal for the current RMS against Rs 1840 MSP fixed last year.
Nearly 182 Lakh MT of total produce is expected and 17,500 combines harvesters would be operating for harvesting the wheat crop in the state.
Against the total requirement of 4.82 lakh gunny bales, 3.05 lakh have already been made available. Likewise, the arrangements for the 47000 tarpaulins against total demand of 52,570 and 29,261 mesh nets against 32805 have already been made. Similarly, required wooden crates for storing the bagged wheat are also being arranged in time.
Khanna further said that amendment of APMC Act has been notified to make payment electronically to farmers through Arthiyas within 48-hour after the lifting of produce.
To avoid crowding, maintain safe social distance norms and ensure smooth procurement, Khanna said a detailed action plan has been chalked out to undertake procurement by staggering arrival of produce in the mandis by issuing coupons fixed with holograms to the farmers through Artiyas. With each coupon a farmer will be entitled to bring one trolley of about 50 to 70 quintals of wheat. A farmer shall be entitled to take multiple coupons each day or in different days depending on space in the purchase centre in order to avoid rush in the mandis. About 27 lakh such coupons would be issued by market committees to Arthiyas.
Emphasising the need to strictly observe necessary safety and sanitary protocols to curb the spread of coronavirus, observance of social distancing norms, wearing of masks and use of sanitisers will be ensured. Khanna stated that mandi yards are being marked with 30×30 feet lines to accommodate a heap of about 50 quintals and maintain sufficient distance from the adjoining one.
District level Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) have been issued to the Deputy Commissioners and SSPs to ensure strict compliance of these protocols. Harvesting operations by combines have been allowed between 6 am to 7 pm, added Khanna.
Provision for clean drinking water, fumigation, cleaning and disinfection of Mandis and Mandi yards is being ensured. Over one lac masks and 25 thousand litres of sanitizer has been received for use in each of these purchase centres. ACS Development said that under the District Level the SOP, the DCs would be the overall incharge of procurement operations to oversee the activities including issuing and distribution of coupons from April 12 (Today) onwards, availability of Mandi Labour in all the 3691 centres.
Apart from these the DCs have also been mandated to review storage point labour for unloading, mandi wise transport arrangements, maintaining cleanliness and sanitation of mandis, storage point, Arthiya shops besides lifting of sold wheat within 48 hours, revealed Khanna.
Notably, a 30-member control room has been set up in the Mandi Board head office and in each of the designated purchase agencies to meticulously coordinate procurement operations and logistics with each district 24X7.