Malout/Muktsar, Sept 27
The state’s lone cotton pre-cleaning and drying unit set up with nearly Rs 2 crore at a cotton market in Malout has been lying unused since 2014.
The Punjab State Agricultural Marketing Board had purchased the machine from Nagpur and handed it over to the Malout Market Committee to ease cotton cleaning process for farmers on a no profit, no loss basis.
Notably, the machine has a capacity of cleaning six-tonne cotton per hour and weed out leaves from the cotton crop. It also lessens the moisture content of cotton as per the requirement and improves the quality of cotton fibre for the marketing purpose.
Area under crop down
The sole reason behind the non-functional unit is the decrease in area under the cotton cultivation. — Amandeep Singh Kang, secretary, Malout market committee
A commission agent said, “The state government must probe why this machine was not used in the past eight years. Officials concerned should also be questioned. It was used just once to clean and dry normal variety of cotton. Neither the market committee officials nor the company’s engineers bothered to give a demonstration to the farmers again.”
Sources in the market committee said two years ago, there was a proposal to instal a shed on the machine at a cost of Rs 1 crore. “We have repeatedly sought funds to make the machine functional again. Further, it requires eight skilled workers and an engineer,” they said.
Amandeep Singh Kang, secretary, Malout Market Committee, said: “The machine has been lying unused. The sole reason behind this is the decrease in area under the cotton cultivation.”
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