Punjab has procured over 93 lakh tons of wheat in the ongoing rabi marketing season, a decline of 25 per cent compared with 125 lakh tons in 2021, officials said on Tuesday. With a drastic decline in wheat arrivals, the Department of Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs has announced timeline to end the wheat procurement. Food and Civil Supplies Minister Lal Chand Kataruchak said the closure of mandis in the state will be done in a phased manner from May 5.
The notification in this regard would be issued by the Mandi Board. The minister said the inclement weather had resulted in shrivelling of grains in most parts of the state. Following a spurt in global wheat prices, most states have witnessed a drastic drop in government purchase of wheat, but Punjab led the nation in contributing the largest quantity of wheat of more than 93 lakh tons into the central pool, he said. Regarding the delay in relaxation of norms for shrivelled grains, he said the Centre has decided to send a second set of officials to take samples from the mandis to ascertain the extent of problem of shrivelling of grains.
Hit by the early onset of heatwave, the wheat crop in Punjab was damaged much beyond the six per cent limit specified by the Centre. This led to dropping of the yield by at least four quintals per hectare, say experts. The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) has slammed the state AAP government for not even approaching the Centre for the compensation to farmers who had suffered a loss of Rs 10,000 per acre due to unseasonal rains in February followed by extremely high temperatures in March.