Express News Service
CHANDIGARH: The Centre has allowed relaxation in procurement norms for shrivelled wheat grains up to 18 per cent against the earlier specification of 6 per cent with any value cut for the central pool from both Punjab and Haryana.
This, due to the abnormally high temperatures.
A letter written on Friday by Vishwajeet Haldar, Deputy Commissioner (Storage and Research Division) in Union Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution to Secretary Department of Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs, Punjab and Additional Chief Secretary Department of Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs, Haryana states, “I am directed to a DO received from Punjab and Haryana seeking relaxation in the uniform specification of wheat for Rabi marketing season 2022-’23 due to the extreme, sudden and unprecedented heatwave in the state. In this regard, it is to convey that the matter has been examined and in order to reduce the hardship of the farmers and to avoid distress sale of what the competent authority has decided to accord the request of the state.’’
“Accordingly it has been decided to procure wheat from Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh (Union Territory) with the following relaxations in the uniform specifications of wheat for the central pool procurement. The limit of shrivelled grain and broken grains of wheat in all districts of Punjab and Haryana including Chandigarh (Union Territory) may be relaxed up to 18 per cent against the existing limit of 6 per cent under uniform specifications with any value cut,’’ reads the letter.
It further states, “the wheat so procured shall be stacked and accounted for separately. The relaxation granted is subject to the condition that any financial or operational implications due to this relaxation shall be sole responsibility of the state government of Punjab and Haryana including Chandigarh (Union Territory). Any deterioration of wheat stock procured under the relaxed scheme during storage shall has to be the sole responsibility of state governments.’’
But interestingly the procurement in both states is over. While the wheat procurement this year by government agencies in Punjab till yesterday has been 96.15 Lakh Metric Tonnes (LMT) against the target of 132 LMT and private traders purchased 6.09 LMT.
A few days ago the Centre had ordered another fresh sampling of the shrivelled grain, another factor for the low yield this year. Sources said the grain across has shrivelled by 10 to 20 per cent as per the assessment of five Central teams.