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Record purchase of wheat – “You have to give credit, Saheb”


भोपाल : बुधवार, जुलाई 1, 2020, 21:18 IST

Just before the month of March, there was a streak of concern apparent on the forehead of the farmers of Madhya Pradesh, the concern was actually justified when speculations about how wheat will be weighed in the mandis this time were making the rounds. “The frightening pictures of Covid 19 had ecome a cause for concern for the farmers of the state who were wondering who would buy their wheat leave alone weighing them ? And whether traders would come to make bid or not and taking undue advantage of the situation they would have to compromise on the price of the crop.”

But good news was waiting. Ghanshyam Singh Rajput, a farmer of Nandaner village of Budhni tehsil, told over phone that not only did the Madhya Pradesh government purchase the wheat lying in his field but now he is also very enthusiastic about his moong crop. The Madhya Pradesh government has given more than expected to the farmers. All the farmers are happy as during this period more than 129 lakh metric tonnes of wheat has been acquired at support price. This is an all-time record for the state. Apart from this, Madhya Pradesh ranked first in the country in wheat procurement on support price, surpassing Punjab.

Amidst the frightening pictures of Covid-19, the concern for wheat crop and taking charge was enough when surprisingly, the Shivraj government went out of the way and brought the state to number one position in the purchase of wheat leaving behind a state like Punjab. Not only does such an agile government system his political will but also silences those who were fearful of the wheat crop rotting in the open. Actually, despite stinginess of words and hiding behind words like “the government should be given credit for this” this record is worth appreciation. Mahendra Chauhan of Bakhtra village is a farmer and who was worried about his wheat crop said over phone that rumours of shortage of gunny bags had them worried because a good part of the year-long effort is spent on wheat crop but this time, despite all the concerns, not only was wheat purchased from the farmers on support price, but he face no problem like in the normal days. The return of Shivraj government is nothing less than a boon.

This time due to Kovid-19 infection, wheat procurement was started from April 15 instead of March 25. This delay had left the farmers disappointed and the market was rife with various speculations, taking care of social distancing due to Corona infection and not spreading the infection was also a big task which was carried out well. Four thousand 529 centres were set up for purchase to avoid too much crowd at one purchase centre and to avoid a chaotic situation. Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan reviewed wheat procurement regularly and has been taking 75 marathon consecutive meetings since March 23rd.

Safe storage of wheat was one practical challenge, which, was also taken up by the government team due to clear orders and firm planning. More procurement centres, more procurement- in terms of execution, it is called Horizontal Expansion in which we spread the means to achieve any goal and make the best use of resources in a short period of time. This technology greatly benefited this record procurement and it became a record.

The vertical structure of the government realized that due to recession and traffic disruption, purchases would have to be made in a shorter period than last year. For this, the number of procurement centres was increased from 3545 to 4,529. The biggest challenge was to arrange payment to the farmers in seven days, which was done on time, thus the farmers had no problem even during the lockdown.

What is worth appreciation is that “the government team had prepared a plan to handle this number” and the amount paid to the farmer was also not reduced. There is no news anywhere about any ruckus during the multiple layered concrete preparations and its monitoring of this plan.

Payment of Rs 25 thousand crores was made to 14 lakh 22 thousand farmers were paid during the crisis which confirms that at least there was no problem of liquidity in the rural economy of the state.

You cannot expect such results without a concrete action plan and “guaranteeing accountability for the task”. Focus was maintained amidst Covid-19 infection and its threat and the rest of the turmoil and the result of many strong follow-ups that came in the form of a record. The saying that “opportunities do not come served in a platter” is true. They have to be identified and given the right direction. Continuous monitoring and follow-up by Chief Minister Shri Chauhan made Madhya Pradesh number one in the country.

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