Chandigarh: With the curtains eventually coming down on Asia’s largest wheat procurement process, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Sunday thanked the farmers, ‘arthiyas’, labourers and all government agencies for having achieved a record wheat procurement of 128 lakh tonnes successfully despite the pandemic.
He said due to elaborate arrangements and operation management of staggered arrival of wheat in the midst of Covid-19 failed to put a spoke in the gigantic wheat procurement operation lasting one-and-a-half month during the current Rabi season.
The Chief Minister, while expressing satisfaction, said the patience, discipline and adherence to the health safety measures during harvesting, procurement and storage of wheat was the hallmark in ensuring zero procurement related to Covid-19 cases.
Additional Chief Secretary, Development, Viswajeet Khanna said to facilitate the pre-harvesting necessities during lockdown, the Department of Agriculture had successfully coordinated the tracking, screening and supervision of all combine operators entering Punjab borders till completion of the harvesting operation.
Medical checkup of such combine operators was ensured before starting the work by them and sanitisation of combine harvesters and straw reapers was ensured by department apart from enforcing social distancing, face masking and hand washing measures.
Principal Secretary, Food and Civil Supplies, K.A.P. Sinha said of the wheat sown over 35.08 lakh hectares, 127.62 lakh tonnes has been procured by the agencies during this difficult phase.
He said amongst the districts, Sangrur topped in arrival of 12.24 lakh tonnes, which is almost 10 per cent of the state’s total, followed by Muktsar (9.70 lakh tonnes) and Bathinda (9.65 lakh tonnes).
He said in comparison to the last season, about 3 lakh tonnes short has been procured in the state, with the major shortfalls being in Patiala, Fazilka, Amritsar and Tarn Taran.
Ludhiana, Sangrur and Jalandhar districts have, however, shown higher procurement over the last year.