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Officers told to recover gunny bags from farmers

Lahore

May 30, 2020

LAHORE:The Punjab Food Department has issued strict warning to its staff for recovery of gunny bags from the farmers who failed to sell wheat to the government.

In a letter written to the field staff on May 28, the Punjab food director has asked all the deputy directors food and district food controllers to take immediate and appropriate steps for the retrieval of the remaining bardana (gunny bags) to complete the targets assigned to their jurisdictions.

It has been observed with grave concern that a very huge quantity of bardana i.e. 375,760 tonne is still outstanding in the field throughout Punjab, he said. He said strict disciplinary action under the rules will be taken against the officers/officials who failed to retrieve the outstanding bardana before the closure of wheat procurement drive 2020-21.

Hence, he stated, all officials are directed to ensure 100 percent retrieval of bardana through all the coercive measures and by making best use of the available resources/ authority already engaged in the ongoing wheat procurement campaign. Any laxity in this regard will not be tolerated at all.

Meanwhile, the farmers have strongly criticised the move of the government to recover the gunny bags, saying that they had the right to sell their wheat wherever feasible. Khalid Khokhar, president, Pakistan Kissan Ittehad (PKI), strongly criticised, what he called, the apathy of officials, saying the government had no way to initiate coercive measures against the farmers in any circumstances.

Every farmer used to pay in advance for getting gunny bags, he said, adding they are not bound to fall prey to the wrong policies of the Punjab Food Department which led to artificially controlling price of wheat.

Similarly, he observed that the department barred farmers from storing more than 25 maunds wheat at home which is sheer injustice to them as average farmers have to store certain quantities of wheat at his or her home due to multiple reasons.

Even farmers’ workers are paid in grains and a sizeable quantity of wheat is required for this purpose only, he said.