Chandigarh, April 26
Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Monday ordered the Food & Civil Supplies Department to clear the pending payments of farmers positively by the end of this month with a direction to all the heads of the procurement agencies to ensure prompt lifting of entire wheat procured so far in mandis across the state.
Chairing a high level meeting of all the heads of the procurement agencies and senior officers of Food & Civil Supplies Department through video conferencing to review the latest position of total arrival of wheat, its procurement, lifting and payment to the farmers, the Chief Minister pointed out with some initial glitches like the introduction of DBT system and shortage of gunny bags, has resulted in some slackness in the procurement but now the situation has considerably improved leading to payment of nearly Rs. 10,000 crore through DBT directly into the bank accounts of 5.59 lac farmers. He asked the Mandi Board officials to complete the uploading of relevant details of farmers on GoI’s ‘AnaajKharid’ portal expeditiously so as to ensure timely payment to the farmers. He said the balance payment worth nearly Rs. 2900 crore would be made soon once these requisite formalities are completed.
Reiterating his government’s commitment to procure every single grain of wheat of the farmers, the Chief Minister further said that 84.18 LMT out of 86.74 LMT wheat had already been procured and the remaining unsold wheat would also be procured immediately so that none of any farmer should unnecessarily stay at mandi. He however, asked the procurement agencies to lift the remaining 46 LMT of wheat already stacked in mandis forthwith.
Meanwhile, Additional Chief Secretary Development Anirudh Tiwari informed that the Punjab Mandi Board had set up ‘farmers help desks’ in the grain markets across the state, where IT professionals along with Board officials were assisting the farmers in their registration on the new portal to ensure timely payment directly into their bank accounts under the DBT scheme. He also informed that the Food and Civil Supplies department earlier transferred the payments into the bank accounts of nearly 22,000 arhtiyas (commission agents) for making further payments to the farmers. However, from the current procurement season with the introduction of the DBT scheme, the payments are now being directly transferred by the procurement agencies into the bank accounts of the farmers.
In view of the recent surge of Covid cases , the state government has also set up Covid vaccination camps in all 154 market committees across the state to inoculate the people above the age of 45 years visiting grain markets so that to ensure the health and safety of farmers, the arhtiyas, labourers, employees of procurements agencies and other stakeholders,.
On the issue of lifting, the Principal Secretary Food and Civil Supplies KAP Sinha apprised that at present, 16.84 crore gunny bags had already been used for packaging of wheat besides sufficient bags were also being supplying to all the grain markets across the state.