The Punjab government has sought relaxation in the norms for shrivelled grains in view of the change in the appearance of the grain as a result of the early onset of the heatwave.
Disclosing this on Tuesday, food, civil supplies and consumer affairs minister Lal Chand Kataruchak said the sudden unprecedented heatwave, which has descended upon the state quite early from the last week of March itself and continued over the last two weeks, has caused the wheat grain to shrivel, which is a natural phenomenon and has nothing to do with the way the farmer has cultivated his crop.
As such it is unfair to refuse to purchase any heap brought in by the farmer, which has a higher percentage of shrivelled grains than what is prescribed, he said.
The minister said yesterday the secretary, food, civil supplies and consumer affairs (Punjab) had written a Demi official letter to the Union secretary, food and public distribution requesting him to allow relaxation in specifications of shrivelled grains for the wheat crop coming into the Mandis.
Food Corporation of India Regional Office has also been collecting samples and compiling the reports in this regard from its district offices, he said.
The Union government has allowed only six per cent of shrivelled grain in the wheat being purchased, whereas the percentage of shrivelled grain is observed to be much higher in many parts of the state.
The minister appealed to the farmers to be patient as the Punjab government was constantly in touch with the Union government to resolve this issue at the earliest.
He also directed the managing directors of the procurement agencies to protect the interests of the staff working in the field under these testing conditions.