In a bid to ensure seamless wheat procurement, commencing from April 10, amid COVID-19 pandemic, the Punjab Government has set up Covid Vaccination Camps in all 154 Market Committees across the state to inoculate the people above the age of 45 years visiting grain markets during the current Rabi Marketing Season.
Disclosing this here today, Chairman Punjab Mandi Board Lal Singh said that the Mandi Board is fully geared up to accomplish the challenging task of wheat procurement amid the trying times of pandemic.
Urging to all the stakeholders to adhere to COVID safety norms to defeat the virus, the Chairman said that the Punjab Government is fully committed to procure every single grain of wheat from the mandis and also to ensure safety of farmers, labourers, Arthiyas and officials of procurement agencies.
The Punjab Mandi Board has also made elaborate arrangements to strictly observe health protocol by providing 10,000 masks (N-95) and 10,000 bottles of sanitizers to its 5600 officials/staff so as to ensure hassle free procurement of wheat in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic, said the Chairman adding employees of Mandi Board have been relentlessly working day & night in Mandis to ensure adequate arrangements for seamless procurement operations during Rabi Marketing Season 2021-22. Besides, the Mandi Board has also arranged another one lakh masks and 35,000 liters sanitizers for providing to the farmers during their arrival in purchase centres.
Pointing out further, the Chairman said that to avoid crowd and congestion in the mandis, the number of purchase centres have been increased from 1872 to 4000 with the target to procure 130 lakh metric tonnes of wheat. He further pointed out that farmers were being asked to bring their produce in Mandis in a staggered manner as a preventive measure to keep Covid-19 under check. The Mandi Board has already chalked out a time bound action plan to issue passes, provide potable water and ensure sanitation during the season. He further said that Mandi Board has already been mandated to issue passes to farmers through Arthiyas.
Notably, during the last Rabi Marketing season, state government successfully procured 127.13 LMT of wheat despite the Covid pandemic restrictions and 17.51 lakh passes issued to the farmers through Arthiyas.
Mr. Lal Singh further said that the highest priority is being accorded to maintain health protocol besides implementing advisories issued by State Government from time to time. Special efforts are afoot to maintain social distancing during procurement operations amongst the farmers, arthiyas, labour, market committee and procurement agency employees and other associated people.
While complimenting services rendered by the Mandi Board and the Market Committees, the Chairman exhorted them to discharge their duties with far more dedication, sincerity and commitment to accomplish this gigantic task.