Ludhiana, April 7:

In view of the upcoming wheat procurement season, Deputy Commissioner Mr Pradeep Kumar Agrawal reviewed the progress of the arrangements. While issuing necessary arrangements, Mr Agrawal said that in view of Novel Coronavirus (COVID 19) and as a safety measure, the farmers would be able to enter the Mandis as per their turn. District Food & Civil Supplies Controllers Mr Sukwinder Singh Gill and Mrs Geeta Bishambu, besides other senior officials were also present in the meeting.

While providing information, Mr Agrawal informed that as per the orders of the Punjab government, curfew/lockdown has been imposed in district Ludhiana. He said that to ensure that all directions and orders of the government are followed, a large number of farmers would not be allowed to gather in the mandis. For this purpose the farmers would be given tokens bearing holograms on them, and they would be able to bring their produce to the Mandis on the basis of those holograms. He said that the Arhtiyas (Commission Agents) would ensure that the wheat crop reaches the Mandis as per the schedule.

Mr Agrawal said that the District Mandi Officer have been directed to ensure that in view of the procurement, cleanliness and other arrangements should be made in all Mandis of the district. He said that the Mandi Board officials would ensure proper training of Arhtiyas and labour regarding washing hands, wearing masks, ensuring social distancing, use of sanitiser etc is organised. All this material would be provided to the labour by the concerned arhtiya, besides they would also ensure that the farmers and labour wash their hands every 30 minutes.

Mr Agrawal informed that the arhtiyas and Labour would be issued curfew e-passes so that they can commute to the Mandis and do their work. He warned of strict police action if any person is caught roaming somewhere else (other than home or mandi) on the basis of these curfew e-passes. He also directed the district officials of Food, Civil Supplies & Consumer Affairs Department to ensure that they provide ample amount of bardana to the arhtiyas well in advance.

On the basis of the statistics provided by the department officials, the Deputy Commissioner stated that the 103 Mandis of district Ludhiana are expecting 8.51 MT of wheat this season. Besides, there is also a proposal to use 128 shellers as mandi. He informed that the procurement season would be from April 15-June 15, 2020.

Mr Raj Kumar Bhalla, representative of the Arhtiyas assured the Deputy Commissioner that all the arhtiyas would support for smooth procurement of the wheat crop.