The transportation of foodgrains from Punjab to other states has come to a standstill with the farmers protesting against the Centre’s new agriculture laws blocking nearly all the major rail routes in the state.
The situation is such that grain stocks in the state are piling up with the stock of rice and wheat touching 215 lakh tonne. It would be a tough task for the state agencies to manage the pile-up as fresh paddy crop, for which the procurement has already begun, is already reaching the storage points.
Nearly 170 lakh tonne paddy is expected to arrive in the mandis for procurement in October and November. Currently, 147 lakh tonne wheat and 68 lakh tonne rice is stored in the state’s godowns.
“Since the farmers are blocking 35 major rail routes in the state, it is tough for us to reach the storage points,” said an officer of Food Corporation of India (FCI).
“Before the farmers’ protests began on September 24, the FCI was booking 35 freight trains carrying wheat and paddy from Punjab to other states daily. One train carries 2,600 tonnes. But now, not more than 2-3 trains are moving out. At times, there is none,” he added.
“Hopefully, the movement of grains will resume once the protests are lifted,” said director (food and civil supplies) Anindita Mitra.
PSPCL raises an alarm
over depleting coal stock
The Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) has raised an alarm that the coal supply in three privately owned thermal power plants at Rajpura, Talwandi Sabo and Goindwal Sahib would last only 5 to 6 days. “The PSPCL-owned plants at Lehra Mohabbut and Rupnagar have sufficient supplies,” said Jatinder Goyal, who holds charge of director generation.
“A large number of trains carrying coal are in transit and are parked outside Punjab. These trains would reach the thermal stations once the farmers remove blockade from the railway tracks,” said Goyal.