Punjab: Paddy lifting picks up pace as rice millers end protest

A day after the rice millers called off their week-long strike, paddy lifting operations picked up pace at the grain markets across Punjab. Over the week, large stocks of procured paddy had been stacked and there was little room left for fresh arrivals.

Puneet Goyal, director, food and civil supplies, told TOI that the focus was now on clearing the backlog. Over 3.25 lakh metric tonnes (LMT) paddy had been lifted from the grain markets till 5 pm on Saturday, against 2.15 LMT paddy lifted on Friday, he added.

Ravinder Singh Cheema, president of the Punjab Arhtiyas Association, said though the lifting operations had resumed, it would take some time before the entire backlog was cleared. He said since space in the grain markets had shrunk during the strike, the arhtiyas had got the stocks piled up. Cheema demanded that the state government should pay labour charges to get the piles lifted.

The arhtiyas have also asked the authorities to create additional temporary space for storing purchased stocks of paddy until these are lifted.

Lifting has picked up after the state government agreed to come up with revised protocols for fortified rice during a meeting on Friday, said Bharat Bhushan Binta, president, Punjab Rice Industry Association. 

This article has been republished from The Times of India.

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