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Lockdown: Punjab, Haryana farmers worried over wheat harvesting

Steps for smooth operation of harvesting, procurement of the crop will be in place before the marketing season: State govts

With harvesting of wheat crop about to commence in the next few days in the key grain growing States of Punjab and Haryana, the farmers are a worried lot, fearing losses over delay in harvesting and procurement amid the ongoing lockdown.

The State governments, however, have stated that farmers need not fear as necessary arrangements for smooth operations of harvesting and procurement of the crop will be in place before the marketing season starts.

“My crop will be ready for harvesting in next 9-10 days, if the weather is clear. But I am nervous about how will I harvest my crop during the ongoing lockdown (curfew). So far there has been no notification issued by the government about the procurement dates,” said Sarvan Singh of Pandher Kalan village in Amritsar, who has sown wheat in five acres.

Mr. Sarvan said that farmers are willing to follow all precautions and regulations to curb COVID-19, but government should also immediately address the fear among farmers about incurring losses by losing the crop.

‘Hardship for farmers’

Gurmeet Singh of Bhattiwal Khurd village in Sangrur told The Hindu that wheat harvesting is mostly done by combine harvester, and if the curfew restrictions continued then it will bring hardship for every farmer.

“Government needs to immediately come out with a plan otherwise it would be a chaotic situation later on when the harvesting starts,” said Mr. Gurmeet, who has sown wheat in nearly 17 acres.

In Haryana's Shahbad, Rakesh Bains, who has sown wheat in his seven acres, said that if government procurement is delayed it will add to farmers woes. “First, there’s no clarity on any mechanism or guidelines being adopted by government for harvesting of the crop. Secondly, if mandis (yards) are not open then where will the farmer store the produce. It’s not easy for farmer like me to store the grain,” he said.

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Printable version | Apr 7, 2020 12:53:25 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/lockdown-punjab-haryana-farmers-worried-over-wheat-harvesting/article31168203.ece

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