Chandigarh, April 4: Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Saturday directed DGP Dinkar Gupta to finalise a comprehensive security plan to ensure smooth procurement of the wheat grain, while directing purchase centres to notify details of procurement arrangements by April 7-8, 2020.

Reviewing the state’s preparedness on this count along with his cabinet colleagues, the Chief Minister stressed that the procurement arrangements should be put in place in a manner that every grain of the farmers is procured though in a staggered manner.

All purchase centers should cater to COVID preventive measures, and also for food, water,  shelter and medical requirements for all those required to be in these centers for procurement of wheat.  Details of procurement arrangements should be notified by 7-8th April 2020, the Council of Ministers decided.

To ensure timely payment to the farmers, it has been decided that payments shall be made to the Arhtiyas within 48 hours and they will, in turn, pay the farmers for the produce within the next 48 hours. It may be recalled that the Chief Minister had yesterday directed his Chief Principal Secretary Suresh Kumar to get the rules amended to provide for payment to farmers through Arhtiyas, saying that any changes in the system, including direct bank transfers, should be put in abeyance in the current circumstances. 

To stagger harvesting, combines will be allowed to operate through the day, from 6 a.m and 7 p.m. an official spokesperson said after the Cabinet meeting. Further, to ensure smooth and speedy operations, maximum number of labourers shall be permitted for unloading operations at Storage sites.

Given the need to prevent overcrowding, the state government is working with Arhtiyas and sheller owners to add 3000 purchase centres this year, with coupons to be issued to the farmers and others involved in the process. A total of 1820 purchase centres will be available for procurement.

The Cabinet was informed that sufficient stocks of gunny bags, wooden crates and tarpaulins for storage were being arranged to ensure smooth procurement operations.

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