The Punjab government today canceled all labour and transportation tenders issued during the erstwhile SAD-BJP rule for the upcoming wheat procurement season.
Fresh tenders have been invited, and Deputy Commissioners have been directed to personally supervise the procurement process that starts on April 1, an official spokesperson said here.
In a meeting chaired by Chief Minister Amarinder Singh it was decided that fresh tenders can be submitted by March 24. These will be opened the next day by District Tender Allotment Committees, the spokesperson said.
The entire tendering process will be completed by March 31, before the procurement season starts.
In case re-tendering is required, the entire process shall be finalised by the committees by March 31, the spokesperson said.
During the meeting held at the Punjab Bhawan here, the Chief Minister directed DCs to put in place a viable mechanism to ensure smooth and hassle-free procurement of wheat-crop.
Amarinder said officials should make all-out efforts to ensure timely and full procurement of every single grain of wheat from farmers, who had "suffered a harrowing time last year due to an ill-conceived agricultural policy of the erstwhile SAD-BJP government".
Reiterating that his government is committed to ensure prompt and seamless wheat procurement, Amarinder said officers must ensure that farmers do not face any inconvenience in selling their produce in Mandis between April 1 and May 31.
He directed officers to arrange drinking water facilities and toilets for labourers working in the grain markets.
The Punjab Mandi Board has been directed to make available electricity, moisture meters, tarpaulins to Arthiyas, crates, power cleaners, fans, generators, in all the markets by March 24, Amarinder said.
The meeting was informed that to ensure smooth, prompt and hassle-free procurement of wheat, necessary arrangements for storage and stock article had already been completed.
It was also informed that a network of 1,828 purchase centres has been notified by the Board.
Mandis have been allotted to six procurement agencies, namely Pungrain, Markfed, Punsup, Punjab State Warehousing Corporation, Punjab Agro Foodgrain Corporation and Food Corporation of India (FCI), as per share allocated to them by the state government.
The agencies would procure an estimated 122 lakh Metric Ton (LMT) of wheat during this procurement drive. The Centre has fixed Rs 1,625 per quintal as Minimum Support Price for wheat for the current marketing season.
(REOPENS DES 48)
The DCs will issue orders to form grievance committees as well as prohibit movement of combines in farms for harvesting wheat at night, the spokesman said,adding they will also convene meetings regarding procurement with all stakeholders.
To ensure timely online payment to Arthiyas, PoS and swipe machines will be delivered by banks to the procurement agencies. These will be installed in all the Mandis by March 27.