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Punjab, Haryana to continue wheat procurement operations

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Chandigarh, May 15 (IANS) Punjab, and Haryana on Sunday announced to continue wheat procurement operations across the state to ensure no farmer faces inconvenience.

This announcement comes in the wake of the Centre banning wheat exports due to soaring prices and fortifying food security.

Punjab Minister for Food and Civil Supplies Lal Chand Kataruchak ordered continuation of wheat procurement operations in 232 agricultural markets, or ‘mandis’, till May 31, while Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar announced to restart procurement from May 16 to 25.

The announcement by Punjab was made after examining the ramifications of the recent decision of the Union Ministry of Commerce to restrict exports of wheat.

Kataruchak said the restriction on export is likely to result in a dip in prices of wheat in the domestic market. As a result some farmers, who have stored the produce, in anticipation of fetching higher prices later, might have a rethink now and opt to sell the wheat.

“Therefore, it is important that the facility of government purchase at minimum support price (MSP) continues to be available to them in order to avoid distress sale,” he said.

On the working of the ‘mandis’, the minister said the state government had operationalised 2,292 ‘mandis’ in the state during the Rabi season. But with a drastic fall in the arrivals of wheat, 2,060 ‘mandis’ have been. At present 232 ‘mandis’ continue to be operational, covering all the districts.

An official statement quoting Haryana Chief Minister Khattar said this time the production of wheat has decreased. In view of the crisis of wheat in the country, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has banned the export of wheat.

“In order to ensure that every poor person of the country gets food grains, wheat will be procured again in Haryana for 10 days as per the decision of the Central government. It will start from May 16 and will continue till May 25. Farmers who want to sell their wheat can come to the mandis,” he said.

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