Chandigarh:  With the procurement season in full swing, government agencies in Punjab and Haryana have procured over 150 lakh tonnes of wheat, food and supplies. This has been said by officials said here on Tuesday. Both states, which contribute over 70 percent of the food grains to the national kitty, are expecting a bumper harvest this year.

In Punjab, government agencies and private millers have procured more than 81 lakh tonnes of wheat till Monday evening, a spokesman said here. Sangrur, Patiala and Ludhiana districts were leading in wheat procurement. The state government has set up over 1,750 procurement centres across Punjab, the spokesman added.

In adjoining Haryana, nearly 69 lakh tonnes wheat was procured by government agencies till Tuesday. Even as the procurement is in full swing, the opposition Congress in Punjab slammed the state government Tuesday for its failure to provide enough gunny bags for the procurement season.

Accusing the Punjab government of lack of preparedness, Congress leader Lal Singh said that enough gunny bags were not available in mandis (grain markets) leading to harassment of farmers. He said that the Akali Dal government had failed to purchase gunny bags, which was generally done six months prior to the procurement season, thinking that it would not return to power in Punjab in assembly elections (held in January this year).

"The Akalis never believed that they will come back to power and they did not make any arrangements so that the Congress government will have to bear the brunt of the mess. This government has been caught in its own web," Lal Singh said.Punjab's Agriculture Minister Tota Singh on Tuesday demanded a Rs 500 bonus on wheat from the union government for the farmer.

He said that Punjab farmers were reeling under a debt of Rs.35,000 crore due to the anti-farmer policies of the central government."After 1967, only a meagre 16 percent rate of crops has been increased while the rates of other agri-input have been increased by 100 to 250 percent," Tota Singh said. Strongly advocating for Rs.500 as bonus per quintal of wheat, he said that the minimum support price (MSP) of wheat and paddy should be linked to the price index.

(Agencies)