Agriculture World

States Set Mandi Protocol for Farmers to Prevent Spread of COVID-19

Abha Toppo
Abha Toppo
mandi

As the rabi procurement season starts next week, Haryana and Punjab are busy finalizing wheat purchase process. Punjab has permitted combine harvesters to run for thirteen hours a day and has put in place few measures to ensure safe arrival of the produce in the grain markets from 15th April. Wheat was sown over 35 lakh hectare in the state and the production is likely to be more than 170 lakh tonne, out of which over 130 lakh tonne is expected to be procured by Central Government.

Besides, 1,820 purchase centres in Punjab, almost 2,000 rice mills have also been made as temporary purchase centres. The state government has issued orders for staggered purchase through token system for restricting entry into grain markets. Agricultural Produce Market Committees or APMCs and commission agents (arhtiyas) will issue passes to the farmers to take their produce to mandis on allotted days. The validity of pass issued to a farmer would be for carrying 1 trolley of wheat that should not exceed 50 quintal.  

Farmers having produce more than 50 quintal will have to make many entries into the mandis and will also need separate passes for each trip. With 50 quintal/trolley limit, around 26 lakh rounds of trolleys will have to be permitted to various mandis in the state for procuring 130 lakh tonne of wheat. Farmers will have to bring the original passes issued by the market committee authorities for entry into the mandi. They have also been asked to maintain social distancing rules in mandis at all cost.

wheat

On the other hand, Haryana is also using a similar system through its “Meri Fasal Mera Byora” website. It has told farmers that they will not be allowed to visit crop procurement centres or mandis if they are not registered on the website. For this, it has asked deputy commissioners (DC) to make sure that all farmers are registered on the website. In addition, it has asked the DCs to provide entry passes to farmers, arhtiyas, labourers and staff visiting crop procurement centres in a systematic way to avoid mass gathering.

They have been asked to properly check the entry as well as exit points of the procurement centres to avoid the spread of Coronavirus. Chief Secretary of Haryana, Keshni Anand Arora issued these directions during a meeting with the officers appointed for Covid-19 via video-conferencing. Arora directed that sufficient sanitiser, masks & thermal scanners be provided & social distancing norms followed strictly at all the procurement centres.

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