No procurement in jalandhar
Jalandhar October 2:
Reminiscent of the past days, farmers have once again been forced to spend their first nights out in the open as no official turned out for the paddy procurement process that began across the state.
The sole exception being Pungrain that is not taking part in the boycott and is procuring small quantities of paddy at the mandis allotted to them in the region. The seriousness of the government in this regard could be gauged from the fact that no effective measures had been taken by the state on time even though the staff had reiterated their resolve that they would boycott the procurement process if their demands were not met.
A quick visit to the mandis in Jalandhar, Kapurthala and Sultanpur Lodhi revealed that the initial arrivals had flooded the mandis, but the farmers were complaining that no one came for procurement till late this evening. Although everyone knew about the boycott, they were hopeful that the impasse between the agitators and the government would end today, Mohan Singh of Nangal Manohar, who brought two trolley loads of paddy in the morning.
Surmukh Singh Nawanpind, an elderly farmer, recalled the days when they had to spend days in the open while waiting for the procurement staff. “It had been all right for the past many seasons, but things are back to square one,” he said.Similarly, farmers at the Sultanpur Lodhi mandi too have been anxiously waiting for the procurement staff since early morning. Satnam Singh of Darewal said he brought his produce last night in the hope that he would be free by noon, but nobody came.
The same sentiments were echoed by Jarnail Singh of Pandori, who, too, has been looking around for the staff that remained elusive to sell his produce. “The arhtiyas, too, are unable to answer my queries as they also do not know what is going on,” he said. Jalandhar Grain Market Association president Kashmiri Lal said of the total produce that came in the mandi, only 2,000 to 3,000 bags had been procured by Pungrain. A smaller quantity had been procured at Partapra sub- yard, he said.
Asked about the filled bags in the mandi, he said they were doing so in anticipation that the strike would end in the next few days. “We have to keep the mandi free for more arrivals,” he explained. Veeru Shekhar, president of the Punsup Employees Union and senior vice-president of the Coordination Committee of Procurement Agencies, said: “In spite of the veiled threat by the government that the procurement will be done forcibly, we will stick to our demands”.
He said the government had reneged on their word and had failed to implement the agreement executed between their representatives and the Food and Supplies Department on April 5.The agencies boycotting the procurement process are Markfed, Warehousing Corporation, Punsup and Punjab Agro.