The Punjab Government has made all preparations for the wheat procurement season commencing from April 10 in the state. Keeping in view the Covid situation instructions have also been given to adopt safety protocols strictly in the all the grain markets of the state.Punjab Mandi Board Chairman Lal Singh today reviewed the procurement arrangements being made by Mandi Board during a meeting with Secretary Mandi Board Ravi Bhagat and other officers.During the meeting, the authorities informed that the wheat procurement process would be carried out through 156 Market Committees of the state. Besides the officials from head office, 5600 field staff would also perform duties to ensure smooth functioning of the procurement operations of Rabi Marketing Season (RMS).Chairman Mandi Board said that Covid safety measures would be in place during the procurement operations with a view to ensure the safety of farmers, employees of various procurement agencies, Mandi board and Market Committees, labourers and Arhtiyas. He also informed that 3972 grain markets have been notified for the current wheat procurement season.Notably, In Punjab, the target for wheat production, as per estimates, was 177 LMT out of which 130 LMT would reach the grain markets. During last season, 128 LMT wheat had been procured successfully despite the Covid pandemic and 17.39 lakh passes had been issued to the farmers through arhtiyas.
Asserting that Mandi Board would focus to make farmers free within 12 hours on arrival of their yield in grain markets and within 48 hours in cases of exceptional reasons, Lal Singh pointed out that to maintain the physical distancing, box markings of 30x30 feet would be done with paint in all the grain yards and procurement centres where the farmers would unload their yield separately. Apart from this, adequate arrangements such as clean drinking water, toilets and spray of Sodium hypochlorite have also been put in place. He further said that coupons with one day validity would be issued to the farmers through Arhityas as per each trolley. We are going to adopt special mechanism this time under which the farmers would liaise with arhtiyas to bring their yield on specific dates and on specific yards and for smooth functioning the space markings are being done, said Chairman adding the farmers and Arhtiyas have been asked to download ‘epmb mobile app’ of Mandi Board to keep them updated regarding procurement activities and issuance of coupons.Listing other measures, the Chairman said that the farmers have been suggested to store the wheat at their homes/farm stores for shorter durations in order to avoid rush in the grain markets keeping in view the Covid situation. Besides, the facilities being provided by the Mandi Board, arhtiyas would also provide sanitizers and Masks to the farmers.He also appealed to the farmers, arhtiyas, labourers and other persons engaged in the procurement process to adopt all the safety measures such as washing hands, wearing masks and maintain physical distancing. If anyone would have symptoms like fever, throat pain, difficulty in breathing etc, he should avoid visiting procurement centres and consult Doctor without any delay, said Lal SinghHe also informed that Punjab Mandi Board has established a control room at its head office to facilitate the farmers and arhtiyas and they would also be able to contact control rooms set up at their concerned district headquarters in case of any problem.