Wheat harvesting in Punjab will start around mid-April: CM

Chandigarh: Wheat harvesting in Punjab will commence around mid-April on account of weather conditions , Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said on Friday while assuring smooth procurement and timely payments.

Singh, however, asked concerned departments to allow harvesting and marketing of the horticulture produce by farmers, with necessary restrictions relating to the COVID-19 precautions.

The wheat harvesting is delayed due to weather conditions and is likely to start only by April 12-15 in the state, the chief minister said after reviewing arrangements for the harvesting of potato and wheat crop, an official statement said.

Proper arrangements are being put in place for harvesting and storage of potato crop, said Singh, adding the government would also ensure smooth procurement and release of timely payment to wheat farmers.

Detailed guidelines for wheat harvesting were expected to be issued by March 31, the statement said.

Haryana Chief Minister M L Khattar had on Thursday announced changes in the date of wheat procurement in view of the nationwide lockdown and said wheat will be procured from April 20.

Generally, the wheat procurement starts in early April in the two agrarian states.

Meanwhile, the Punjab chief minister also directed officials of Horticulture Department, Punjab Agro Industries Corporation and Punjab Mandi Board to work out the modalities, in coordination with the respective district officials, to allow farmers to harvest and transport their horticulture produce for seamless marketing without putting them to any more hardship.

A spokesperson of the Chief Minister’s Office said that a detailed list of District Mandi Officers, along with their contact numbers, has been issued by Punjab Mandi Board so that farmers can contact the concerned officer.

The Additional Chief Secretary Development-cum-Financial Commissioner Horticulture has also issued an advisory asking all Deputy Commissioners to grant the relevant permissions/relaxation to the farm labour and farmers for harvesting and transporting the horticulture produce, including vegetables and fruits to the markets, as well as cold storage.

Underlining the importance of maintaining regular supply chain of essential commodities of horticulture produce in these critical times, the officials have directed that the necessary restrictions relating to the health advisories of social distancing, use of masks, hand-wash etc may be included in the permissions. The Deputy/Assistant Directors Horticulture have also been directed to assist the Deputy Commissioners for this purpose.

Director Horticulture Shailender Kaur has provided a comprehensive list of farmers who require labour for harvesting and need transportation of their produce to the markets as well as cold stores.

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