Chandigarh: Amid heightened tension betweenIndia and Pakistan, the Punjab government today said it has made special arrangements for the procurement of paddy sown near the borders, as evacuation of people from these areas has left farmers worried about the fate of their crop.
“We have made special arrangements for the purchase of paddy crop of farmers (living near border areas). As soon as farmers bring their crop, it will be lifted at once so growers should not worry about their crop,” State Agriculture minister Tota Singh told PTI today.
Asserting that farmers living near Indo-Pak borders will not be allowed to face any problem in selling their produce, the minister further said the special arrangements have been made for the transportation of crop from the mandis and duties of concerned officials have been fixed in this regard.
“We have also decided that release orders will be issued to farmers for taking their crops to rice mills, the minister said.
Punjab anticipates the arrival of 10 per cent of total crop in mandis within next 10 days as crop procurement set to start tomorrow.
The state has set a target to lift 135 lakh metric tonnes of crop for Kharif marketing season with RBI approving Rs 22,000 crore as cash credit limit to the state for purchase.
The state government has set up a committee of four ministers including agriculture minister Tota Singh, food and civil supply minister Adesh Partap Singh Kairon, Finance Minister Parminder Singh Dhindsa and Industries minister Madan Mohan Mittal. The committee will ensure growers living within 10 km from borders do not face any problem in selling their produce, he said.
People living within 10 km of the border with Pakistan in Punjab have been asked to shift to safer places in the wake of surgical strikes carried out by the Indian Army across the Line of Control (LoC).
The evacuation process in Punjab is going on in six districts — Pathankot, Gurdaspur, Amritsar, Tarntaran, Ferozepur and Fazilka.
However, reports pouring from these districts said people living near international borders, who have been asked to vacate their homes, are worried about the fate of their standing paddy crop.
“People, who are living more than 2 or 3 km from the border area, are staying put. Homes in 14 villages located within radius of 1.5 km have been fully vacated so far,” said an official in Ferozeour.
Akali MLA from Khemkaran in border district of Tarn Taran, Virsa Singh Valtoha expressed concern about the crop sown on 20,000 acres of land across the fence on the Indo-Pak border.
“We are only worried about the crop sown across the fence as security personnel have stopped farmers from visiting their farms (in the wake of tension between India and Pakistan), said Valtoha.
Meanwhile, Congress MLA from Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa said people can evacuate but who will take care of the cattle.
“Humans can evacuate but what will happen to the Cattle? What will happen to the properties of the evacuees,” he asked.
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