Punjab transporters’ strike disrupts procurement
Wheat procurement was almost “halted” in the grain markets of Punjab due to a transporters’ strike on Monday. However, the agitation was called off in the evening after the transporters got assurances from the state government that they would get old rates for wheat transportation.
With mandis witnessing a wheat glut due to heavy arrivals, hapless farmers have been waiting for purchase of their produce, forcing them to protest against non-procurement of wheat at several places, including Sangrur, Bathinda and Khamano, in the state.
“There is no wheat purchase taking place in mandis. You can see yourself the condition of poor farmers who have already been hit hard by adverse weather conditions,” Bhartiya Kisan Union (Rajewal) President Balbir Singh Rajewal said here on Monday.
Of the total arrival of 5.75 lakh tonne so far in mandis, only 60,000 tonne of crop has been purchased, said an official of Punjab Mandi Boad here. Current wheat procurement was even 90 per cent less than what was procured in the corresponding period of last season. Agitating transporters stuck to their demand of restoring the earlier rates for transportation of wheat, as a result of which crop procurement has affected in mandis.
“As per old policy, we were given a minimum of Rs 350 per tonne (for 8-12 km). But from this season, the state government has reduced it to Rs 115 per tonne, which is not acceptable to us. We want old rates be restored,” All Punjab Transporters’ Union President Happy Sandhu said.