The Fact News Service
Chandigarh, April 24
Acting on the directions of the Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann for ensuring complete transparency in the procurement of wheat, the Vehicle Tracking System (VTS) has been implemented in the State during the ongoing wheat procurement season. As on date 26250 transport vehicles have been fitted with GPS devices which help in tracking their movement from the Mandi to the Godowns. More than 95421 online gate passes have been issued through the VTS and issuance of manual passes has been abolished.
Sharing these details Shri Lal Chand Kataruchak, Minister for Food, Civil Supplies & Consumer Affairs today said that it is for the first time ever that the VTS has been implemented during foodgrain procurement operations in Punjab. This is helping the department to track the movement of trucks so that any mischievous attempt at Embezzlement, Recycling or illegally bringing wheat from other States can be checked immediately. In addition, it helps in optimum utilisation of vehicles as it helps the authorities to monitor quick loading and unloading of trucks, he said. The Minister added that this system would help eliminate bogus purchases of wheat and it would also be extremely beneficial in the forthcoming paddy season to check recycling of paddy from other states.
Elaborating on the efforts of the Department to crackdown on corruption at all levels, the Minister said that for the first time, on the specific directions of the Chief Minister, all tainted officials of the four procurement agencies namely MARKFED, PUNGRAIN, PSWC and PUNSUP had been specifically debarred from being assigned any duties for wheat storage. These were officials against whom any recovery for loss in wheat or paddy purchase/storage had either been ordered or was under consideration.
Commenting on the purchase of wheat in the Mandis, the Minister said that the state has been witnessing peak rivals for the past week and more than 60% of the total expected arrival of wheat has already come into the Mandis in a very short period of about 10 days. The Government has stood up to this challenge and ensured a lightening pace of procurement and prompt payment of full MSP directly into the accounts of the farmers. More than ₹11,000 crore stands released into the accounts of about 3.54 Lakh farmers until Saturday evening, he disclosed.
On the pace of lifting from the Mandis, the Minister said that more than 4 Lakh MT has been lifted from the Mandis in a single day yesterday after FCI permitted short-term storage of wheat in open plinths. lifting will progress smoothly.
The Minister added that the State Government was fully committed towards protecting the interests of the farmers and it has ensured that every farmer got full MSP for his crop without any value cut.