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No space for wheat in mandis
Labour shortage slows down loading
SP Sharma
Tribune News Service

A farmer of Bibiwala village searches for space in the grain market in Bathinda.
A farmer of Bibiwala village searches for space in the grain market in Bathinda. Tribune photo: Kulbir Beera

Bathinda, April 25
Wheat stocks have started overflowing on the streets around grain markets of the Malwa belt because of glut caused due to the slow pace of lifting due to shortage of labour.

The sprawling grain market here was choked with bags full of wheat awaiting carriage by procurement agencies. The farmers reaching here from rural areas with their produce were facing difficulty in finding space to offload the grain.

Similar reports of glut were received from Goniana, Deon, Bhagivandar, Rampura, Kot Shamir, Bhucho, Nathana and Sangat.

An elderly farmer, Karam Din, who had come from Bibiwala village, dumped his produce outside on the road, as he was unable to find even an inch of space inside the market.

Surjeet Singh and Sukhdev Singh, who had come from Baluwana village, drove their tractor trolleys from one place to another in search of space to offload their wheat produce.

Officials of the market committee say the problem has come as arrival of fresh stocks of wheat was increasing day by day because farmers have this time resorted to mechanical harvesting instead of doing it manually to hurriedly prepare the fields for sowing cotton.

An official of the market committee, Sadhu Singh, said 1.70 lakh quintals of wheat had so far reached the grain market and about 45 per cent of it was lying there due to shortage of manpower to load it in trucks.

Moreover, the number of procurement agencies this time has been reduced to three against four last season. Pungrain, Markfed and Punsup are engaged in procurement of wheat, while the Punjab Agro has not come in the market.

He said against daily lifting of about 10,000 wheat bags, fresh stocks of grain worth 25,000 to 30,000 bags was reaching here to further add to the problem of offloading.

Farmers of villages around Talwandi Sabo are facing the same problem as there are hardly any labourers in the grain market at Kot Shameer.

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