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Shortage of labor responsible for the slow withdrawal of wheat from Mandis

As of Friday, only 2.8 million tons of wheat could be transported out of the mandis, while the arrival of the harvest continued and 4.3 million tons of wheat purchased were still in the mandis.

With 60 percent of the 7.1 million tonnes of wheat purchased still on the Punjab mandils, the shortage of labor in the grain markets, as well as at unloading points at storage stations, was cited as the main reason for the slow shipment of grain from the market.

As of Friday, only 2.8 million tons of wheat could be transported out of the mandis, while the arrival of the harvest continued and 4.3 million tons of wheat purchased were still in the mandis.

During the first wave of last year, as the acquisitions took place during the blockade, labor from other sectors joined the labor force on mandis to compensate for the absence of migrant workers.

“But this year there is a shortage of workers in the grain markets across the state because fewer migrants came to Punjab for a variety of reasons and local workers are not available to us because there is no blockade. So many workers

who came to Mandis last year are busy with their respective jobs this year, ”said Darshan Lal, the president of the Khanna Mandi Association, adding that in Khanna Mandi who had 15,000 workers during the wheat season every year, this year there are only 10,000.

Labor is needed to unload farmers’ crops, clean, fill, weigh and then load on trucks to take to government warehouses.

“Elections in UP and West Bengal, expensive fare, fear of blocking again have prompted several migrants to stay in their hometowns or return halfway after the increase in Covid cases across the country,” said Lal. He added: “The shortage of workers has slowed down all processes that are greatly affecting the survey process.”

According to Lal, migrants come in fewer numbers, as this year they depend mainly on road trips, which is an expensive affair. “During the wheat season, even if they work for Rs 500 a day, their income would be around Rs 7,000 to 10,000. If they have to pay Rs 3,000 to 4,000 for road trips, it makes no sense. Many of them chose to stay in their home state this season, ”said another union member, Banwari Lal, at the Jalandhar grain market, which is also replete with a wheat crop.

“For the past two days I have been waiting to unload my crop in Mandi and when I did not find the location, the arhtiya was stored in his private yard until the harvest of all the wheat acquired did not take place,” said farmer Jagjit Singh at the market. grains of Nurmahal, adding that several farmers are returning with their carts full of grain to their homes to return after a few days, because there is no reason to wait indefinitely.

“If the purchased wheat is not removed from the mandis, farmers like me, who are coming to the mandis, will find no place. I am also waiting for a suitable place to unload my six carts, but so far I have not been able to find a place, ”said farmer Jang bahadur of Fatehgarh Sahib in Khanna Mandi.

Even the grain that is being transported outside Mandis is also not unloaded at government storage points for 2-3 days in various places. “In Hoshiarpur, trucks are not being unloaded at storage locations and if unloading takes place there, then as the lifting of mandrels can be done quickly, as the trucks will return after a 2-3 day break for mandis,” he said. Happy Sandhu, president of the Truck Operators Union, adding that about 65,000 trucks are involved in transporting wheat from Mandis to government warehouses, but due to slow unloading, the lift is also very slow.

“The labor shortage exists in most mandils across the state,” he said.

Gurmukh Singh Malhi, who accepts proposals for labor and transportation in Punjab, said they face about 40% labor shortages because of the slow pace of lifting the mandis.

According to government procurement agencies, almost 40 percent of the total wheat purchased could be transported from Mandis daily, on average. Punjab Director of the Department of Food and Civil Supplies, Ravi Bhagat admitted that there is a shortage of manpower in the mandis this year.

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