Tribune News Service
Bathinda, April 9
The wheat procurement is set to start from April 10, but on Thursday night around two dozen trucks laden with illegal wheat reached Bathinda from other states.
BJP leader Sukhpal Sra got input about this, after which he reached Bathinda’s grain market and claimed that about 25 trucks loaded with wheat parked in Dana Mandi had come from Bihar and other states.
- Farmers protest wheat import by mill owner
- Wheat from other states smuggled into Punjab for MSP, 3 trucks seized
He alleged that wheat procured from there at cheaper rates would now be sold in Punjab as per MSP.
As per the information, wheat is purchased at the rate of Rs 1,100 per quintal in Bihar and other states and sold in Punjab at around Rs 1,925 per quintal as MSP.
Even transportation cost is around Rs 225 per quintal and in one truck around 400 quintals of wheat is transported. This means a trader is minting Rs 2 lakh per truck in this illegal business.
Inderjit Singh, a truck driver, said, “I have brought 41 tonnes (380 quintal) of wheat from Darbhanga in Bihar in my truck and I was told to leave it at a chemical factory in Bathinda but when I reached near Bathinda, I was told to reach grain market at Bathinda.”
After getting this information, the farmers under the banner of BKU Sidhupur had started a protest where wheat was lying dumped at the grain market.
The protesters shouted slogans against the state government and alleged that the government along with traders is exploiting the farmers by doing this illegal business during the procurement.
Punjab Mandi Board, DGM, Ferozepur Division, Kuldeep Singh Brar said, “Around 20 trucks laden with wheat have come here from Darbhanga in Bihar and Rajasthan. They have brought wheat at a price of Rs 1,100 and they are fleecing the government by selling it here at MSP price. We seized the wheat lying here.”
He also said three loaded trucks have been standing here while wheat from many trucks has been lying dumped here.
“We have informed the Deputy Commissioner and food supply department officials about this,” he said.
Brar also stated that they along with vigilance and police officials have conducted raids at two godowns in the grain market, where large number of unaccounted wheat has been found, which is illegal as if anyone keeps stock of wheat in its godowns, then the trader is bound to inform the Mandi board about the same but here it is found that Mandi board had no news about this, due to which entire stock has been seized.
SHO, Kotwali police station, Daljit Brar said, “We have received a complaint from market committee Bathinda, in which it was stated that one truck of M/s Babbu Ram Ashok Kumar firm, two trucks of Lakshmi oil chemicals and around 7000-8000 bags of wheat have been lying dumped in open at grain market, which have been brought from the other states so we have seized the stock and registered an FIR against both the firms.”
Even during paddy procurement last year, several traders were also booked by the Bathinda police but later no further action was taken by the police.
In the preliminary investigation, it was learnt that traders purchased paddy at lower rates in other states to sell it at a much higher price in grain markets across the state.
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