Chandigarh, Apr 4 (PTI) The opposition Shiromani Akali Dal today accused the Punjab government of having “failed” to make proper arrangements for wheat procurement and alleged that the ruling Congress was “least bothered” about the plight of farmers.

A senior official of Punjab Food and Civil supplies department, however, said the state government has made adequate arrangements for the procurement of 130 lakh metric tonne of wheat for the current marketing season.

Last year, about 118 lakh tonne of crop was procured from the state.

Hitting out at the state government, SAD senior vice president and spokesperson Daljit Singh Cheema alleged, “It is painful to see that the wheat procurement season has already started from April 1 and wheat arrival has begun in mandis of the state. But the government has miserably failed to make proper arrangements for this procurement.” He alleged that the Congress government had also “failed” to complete the tender process for lifting of the produce from the mandis and labour contracts.

“Had the government been serious on procurement issue, it would have taken action at least 15 days before the beginning of the procurement process. It is also unfortunate that government is silent on arrangements of finances for making payments to the farmers for their produce,” Cheema said.

Punjab has sought the cash credit limit (CCL) of about Rs 28,000 crore for the procurement of wheat from farmers during this Rabi marketing season, the official at Punjab Food and Civil supplies department said, adding, “We are hopeful of receiving CCL over next two or three days.” Meanwhile, the state government has given permission to commission agents, better known as ‘Arthiyas’, for transportation of wheat. The decision came after truck operators under the banner of All Punjab Truck Operators’ Union decided to continue to boycott the tender process for the transportation of the crop.

Following this move, Arthiyas could also handle transportation of wheat where truckers have not participated in the tender process, officials said.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.