By Nitin Jain
The paddy procurement has picked up in all 13 grain markets (mandis) of the district as the harvesting of the crop has reached an advanced stage here.
Even as the “glut” like situation prevailed in most of the mandis due to heavy inflow of grains, the district administration has claimed smooth paddy procurement and lifting with no hardship to farmers in the state’s biggest and largest district, in terms of area and population.
Of the total 11.36 lakh metric tonnes (LMT) of paddy arriving across the district till this evening, 11.27 LMT stock has been procured, which accounts for 99 per cent of the total arrivals. Of the total procurement, over 7.97 LMT grains had already been lifted from the mandis, which accounted for 71 per cent of the total purchase.
The development assumes significance as the harvesting of the paddy crop had been delayed due to the spoilsport played by the recent heavy rainfall, resulting in flooding of most of the area under the rice crop. Besides, the area under cultivation had also reduced from 2,58,800 hectares in 2022 to 2,56,900 hectares this season.
The Agriculture Department has estimated almost 70 per cent of the total paddy crop has already been harvested while the rest, mainly late varieties, are in the process of harvesting.
Deputy Commissioner Surabhi Malik, who is monitoring the paddy purchase in the district on a daily basis, told The Tribune, that the procurement of rice was undergoing in a smooth and hassle-free manner at all 13 grain markets across Ludhiana.
She said all arrangements were in place to facilitate the farmers, arriving with their paddy crop at the mandis by ensuring swift procurement, lifting, and payment of their foodgrain.
While government agencies lead the charge by procuring 11.26-LMT of paddy, which was 99.91 per cent of the total purchase so far, private agencies had bought only 1,057-MT of the foodgrain, which accounted for only 0.09 per cent procurement. Arhtiyas had bought the meagre produce at only five of the total 13 mandis while no private purchase has yet been reported at the rest eight grain markets.
With 57,824 MT more paddy arriving at the district mandis on Saturday, 58,270 MT of stock was procured during the day, leaving 8,669 MT grains unsold so far.
This season’s paddy arrival was 36,438-MT, which accounted for almost 3 per cent, less than 11.72 LMT of grains that had arrived in the district during the corresponding period last year.
Besides the arrival of 11.36 LMT of parmal rice, of which 11.27 LMT had been purchased by the government and private agencies at the minimum support price (MSP) of Rs 2,203 and maximum of Rs 2,211 per quintal, as many as 33,697 MT of basmati rice had also been received and the entire stock purchased by private agencies at the maximum price of Rs 4,600 per quintal and minimum of Rs 2,320 per quintal till date. The entire procured basmati rice had also been lifted from the mandis.
With 368 MT of basmati rice arriving and the entire stock getting purchased on Saturday, the basmati arrival and procurement this year so far was almost 81 per cent more than 18,622 MT of basmati rice that had arrived and was procured in Ludhiana during the corresponding period last year.
This season’s maximum price of Rs 4,600 per quintal was also almost 10 per cent more than Rs 4,190 per quintal of maximum price that the basmati rice had fetched during the corresponding period last year.
Divulging the procurement figures, the District Mandi Officer (DMO), Bir Inder Singh Sidhu, said Khanna, which was Asia’s biggest grain market, was at the top with the arrival and procurement of almost 15 per cent of the district’s total stock so far.
The mandi-wise data showed that the maximum of 1,66,552 MT of paddy had arrived of which 1,66,496 MT had been purchased in Khanna, followed by 1,55,652 MT arrival and 1,53,007 MT procurement in Jagraon, 1,54,914 MT arrival and 1,53,437 MT procurement in Mullanpur Dakha, 1,16,656 MT arrival and 1,16,536 MT procurement in Machhiwara, 84,380 MT arrival and 84,350 MT procurement in Samrala, 71,973 MT arrival and 70,788 MT procurement in Sidhwan Bet, 68,940 MT arrival and 68,103 MT procurement in Raikot, 65,954 MT arrival and 65,904 MT procurement in Doraha, 62,231 MT arrival and 62,166 MT procurement in Sahnewal, 62,170 MT arrival and 61,506 MT procurement in Kila Raipur, 48,195 MT arrival and 47,574 MT procurement in Hathur, 47,042 MT arrival and 46,288 MT procurement in Ludhiana and the minimum of 30,988 MT grain had arrived of which 30,822 MT had been purchased in Maloud grain market till this evening.
The DMO revealed that of the total procured 11.27 LMT of paddy, 7.97 LMT, which accounted for 71 per cent of the total purchase, had been lifted from the grain markets while the remaining of purchased foodgrain was in the process of being lifted.
Divulging the extent of damage caused by the recent floods and relief extended to the farmers, Chief Agriculture Officer (CAO) Narinder Benipal said the paddy crop was planted over 2,56,900 hectares of area in Ludhiana district during the current Kharif season, of which almost 6,475 hectares had suffered damages due to recent floods and incessant rains.
Benipal said the timely intervention and help extended by the Agriculture Department had ensured recovery of partially damaged paddy plantation over 4,725 hectares while free saplings/ seeds were provided to flood-hit farmers to replant paddy crop over 1,750 hectares.
“With this, our entire area that had been hit by the floods had been recovered/ replanted and not even a single field had been left where no paddy plantation had been done,” the CAO claimed.
He said the saplings/seeds of various paddy varieties, mainly PR-126, PR-124 and basmati were distributed free of cost to the farmers at the block level after making public announcements and publicity in villages.
No pvt purchase in 8 mandis
Eight of the total 13 mandis in the district have not yet witnessed any private paddy purchase even as only 10 days were left for the close of the current procurement season. Except 389 MT in Samrala, 358 MT in Khanna, 188 MT in Mullanpur Dakha, 66 MT in Jagraon and 56 MT at Machhiwara, the private agencies had not yet procured a single grain in any of the other eight grain markets.
No grain to remain unsold: DC
“We are committed to purchasing every single grain of paddy arriving at mandis by ensuring smooth and hassle-free procurement, lifting and payment to farmers in the stipulated time frame. The district administration is on the job to facilitate the peasants during the ongoing procurement process,” said Surabhi Malik, DC.
This article has been republished from The Tribune