Chandigarh, Dispelling the apprehensions of arthiyas (foodgrain commission agents), Punjab Chief Secretary Karan Avtar Singh on Thursday assured them that the prevalent system of payments to farmers for their produce would continue during the ongoing Rabi Marketing Season (RMS) and timely payments would be made through the arthiyas.
“The Chief Secretary asked the Food Department to ensure that payments to farmers are made strictly within 24 hours of the purchase of their produce,” a government spokesperson said.
“He also directed the Additional Chief Secretary (Development) to ensure that J-forms are duly filled to maintain absolute transparency and efficiency in the procurement process,” he said.
Wheat procurement started across Punjab from April 1, but bulk stocks of the produce are expected to arrive in the grain markets after Baisakhi (April 13).
The state government is expecting a bumper crop again this year and targeting procurement of 130 lakh tonnes of wheat.
Taking stock of the arrivals in the mandis in the ongoing Rabi season, the Chief Secretary asked the arthiyas to ensure fool-proof arrangements for smooth and hassle free procurement and lifting of produce.
Despite just 1.54 per cent of the country’s geographical area, Punjab contributes nearly 50 per cent of foodgrain (wheat and paddy) to the national kitty. However, the state that once heralded the ‘Green Revolution’ in the country, is facing an agrarian crisis, with its farmers burdened under a mounting debt of over Rs 90,000 crore.