Punjab Chief Secretary Anurag Verma reviews wheat procurement and crop damage

Punjab Chief Secretary Anurag Verma reviews wheat procurement and crop damage

Chandigarh. Punjab Chief Secretary Anurag Verma convened an emergency meeting with all Deputy Commissioners to evaluate the ongoing wheat procurement operations in the state and assess the impact of recent unseasonal weather on crops.

During the meeting, Chief Secretary Verma directed the Deputy Commissioners to ensure prompt purchase of crops brought by farmers to the mandis (markets). He emphasized that payments for the purchased crops should be credited to the farmers' accounts within 48 hours.

Verma instructed the Deputy Commissioners to hold daily meetings with the procurement agencies in their respective districts to monitor procurement activities across all markets. Additionally, he urged them to personally visit the mandis to oversee the operations.

The Chief Secretary mandated that the Deputy Commissioners promptly submit reports to the government detailing the losses incurred by farmers due to unseasonal rains. In villages where crops have suffered damage, either the DC or the SDM should conduct an on-site assessment.

Providing an overview of the wheat procurement, Verma disclosed that an estimated total of 132 lakh metric tons of wheat is expected to arrive in the mandis this season. As of now, 17.14 lakh metric tons have been delivered, of which 13.23 lakh metric tons have been procured by the state's procurement agencies.

Highlighting the timely payment to farmers, Verma noted that while Rs. 752 crore is due for payment within 48 hours, a total of Rs. 898 crore has already been disbursed, ensuring many farmers receive payments even earlier than stipulated.

Emphasizing the importance of efficient transportation, the Chief Secretary urged the Deputy Commissioners to prioritize the swift lifting of the procured crops. He informed that the state government is coordinating with the Food Corporation of India (FCI) to arrange daily special trains for this purpose.

Verma revealed that as of April 20, 61,000 metric tons of wheat had been transported via special vehicles. On April 21, an additional 24,000 metric tons were dispatched using nine special vehicles, bringing the total to 85,000 metric tons. He further announced plans to run 26 special trains on April 22.

Assuring farmers of the government's commitment to expedite procurement and ensure timely payments, Verma encouraged any farmer facing issues with procurement or payments to report them through the government's toll-free number 1100, promising swift action on all reported concerns.

The meeting was attended by Principal Secretary of Food and Civil Supply Development Vikas Garg, MDs of procurement agencies including Markfed, PUNSUP, Pungrain, and Warehouse Corporation, Secretary of Punjab Mandi Board, GM of FCI, and Deputy Commissioners from all districts, who participated via video conference.


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