Friday, May 11, 2001,
 Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Not a grain brought to 2 Rohtak mandis
Jatinder Sharma

Rohtak, May 10
Although the district is facing wheat glut because of heavy arrivals at least two mandis have not received a grain of the crop till date.

The government has this year again notified 11 mandis in the district as purchase centres for wheat. These are Rohtak, Meham, Kalanaur, Lakhanmajra, Sampla, Madina, Kahnaur, Kiloi, Sanghi, Myna and Hassangarh. While the wheat arrivals at all other mandis have surpassed the previous records, Myna and Hassangarh have not received a single grain till date.

Last year also, these two mandis did not receive wheat. While Myna mandi is situated close to the Rohtak grain market there is not a single foodgrain dealer (licensee) registered at Hashanah. This is happening for the past many years and why the government is notifying these mandis as procurement centres year after year is anybody’s guess.

Though Sampla was also considered an “idle” mandi in the previous years, it has this year suddenly come to life and traders are bubbling with activity. According to the Rohtak Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anil Malik, the total arrivals till Wednesday evening at Sampla were 12,213 metric tonnes against only 1,000 metric tonnes last year.

The Deputy Commissioner said the district had received 1,24,175 metric tonnes wheat till May 9 as against 57,703 metric tonnes last year. The situation in the neighbouring Sonepat district too is no different. The total arrivals in Sonepat are 1,86,239 metric tonnes against 94,567 metric tonnes last year, the Sonepat Deputy Commissioner, Mr S.N. Roy, told The Tribune on telephone.

The infrastructure created for the purchase of wheat by the procurement agencies had collapsed because of the glut situation. The administration had not expected such heavy arrivals which have surpassed all previous records, concedes Mr Malik.

Although the government agencies were buying the golden grain at the rate of Rs 610 per quintal, the farmers at Meham and Sampla had in the initial days got Rs 615 to Rs 620 per quintal for their produce. The traders had been doling out some percentage of their commission to woo the farmers to their shop because of tough competition among themselves.

Mr Malik, who is spending most part of the day in visiting various procurement centres, claimed the total arrivals of wheat were from within the district. “Not a single foodgrain has come to this district from either Rajasthan, UP or Delhi,” he said.

Surprisingly, the traders and the flour mills have not entered the market and purchased wheat despite the heavy arrivals. Against the total arrival of 1,24,175 metric tonnes the total purchase by traders in Rohtak was merely 29 metric tonnes (including 20 metric tonnes by consumers).

The situation in neighbouring Sonepat was equally puzzling. The purchases by traders in Sonepat were 14 metric tonnes only till May 9 against 453 metric tonnes last year. The traders have purchased only 48 metric tonnes in Jhajjar and 183 metric tonnes in Panipat district. Though the total arrivals in Karnal district had exceeded six lakh metric tonnes till yesterday, the purchases by the traders and flour mill owners were nil.

The traders are reluctant to reveal their strategies and are keeping the authorities guessing. A prominent foodgrain dealer here told The Tribune in confidence that the traders feel the wheat rates would crash after the government put a stop to its procurement operations.

The flour mills too, plan to purchase their requirement of wheat at a later stage. “Why should we purchase and store the wheat now when we know that there would be no demand of foodgrains in the months to come because of the surplus stocks held by the Centre”, he told while unfolding the mystery.

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