Phagwara: In efforts to facilitate paddy procurement in the state, Punjab Mandi Board has initiated several steps including constituting flying squads to check irregularities in various agriculture markets.
The Board`s chairman Ajmer Singh Lakhowal, who is also Punjab Bharatiya Kisan Union President, said this today while on a visit here at the local market to interact with farmers and commission agents.
On the issue of delay in lifting of paddy due to shortage of gunny bags and payment to farmers, Lakhowal said he has raised the matter with the state Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and other concerned authorities.
"The board has also constituted flying squads for checking irregularities in various markets," he said.
He said that about 4928 lakh tonnes of paddy had already arrived in state markets as against 6155 lakh tonnes of the corresponding period last year.
Lakhowal attributed this 20 per cent less arrival to this year`s unseasonal rains, claiming that the arrival ratio will improve in coming days.
Enunciating on other initiatives by the board, he said: "Funds will be spent on creating better marketing facilities for other crops to encourage diversification of crops. This will relieve farmers of the current wheat-paddy cycle and boost their income."
He said there was a proposal to scrap market fee on fruits and vegetables for ensuring remunerative prices of these items to the growers.
Lakhowal claimed that about Rs 458 crore has been spent during last five years on modernisation of state markets.