Haryana postpones crop procurement to after April 15

The CM assured that farmers will not be stopped from going to their fields and tending to their crops. (Express photo/Representational)

WHILE CROPS across the state are now ready for harvest, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Thursday announced that the procurement process will begin after April 14, the day the nationwide lockdown to control the spread of the coronavirus ends.

Hence, mustard procurement in the state will begin on April 15, and wheat procurement will start from April 20, if the situation permits.

The CM assured that farmers will not be stopped from going to their fields and tending to their crops. He added that farmers will initially have to store the produce in their homes. State Agriculture Minister J P Dalal said, “Farmers vehicles used for harvesting crops shall not be stopped on roads by the police."

“We know that farmers’ annual income depends upon this harvest. Farmers need not worry. Government is committed to buying each and every grain and shall do it. There might be some delay since it is not possible till April 14...Till then, farmers need to store the harvested crop in their homes. In case they are not able to do that, we have issued instructions to the marketing board to assist the government for creation of such facilities. We have also sought an incentive scheme for farmers from the Government of India. State government shall also be formulating some incentives soon. Payments of debts of farmers will also be allowed till a later date," Khattar said while addressing the public through a video message Thursday afternoon.

The chief minister also launched a website – covidssharyana.in -- to ensure that people get their ration, vegetables, milk, medicines and other essential commodities at their doorsteps. “Grocery and chemist shop owners can register themselves on this website. There will be two links on this website – one for grocery, milk, essentials and chemist shop registration and another for volunteers. People can call up these registered vendors and volunteers will be engaged by district administration to supply essential items at people’s doorsteps," he said.

Khattar added, “33,000 volunteers have registered themselves to help district administration. These include doctors, nurses, paramedical staff, public communication, district management supporters...all these volunteers shall be adequately utilised by the respective district administrations according to need and requirement."

Haryana Home and Health Minister Anil Vij said, "We have even deputed our party workers to find out who has not got ration supplies because of the lockdown. Our party workers will ensure that adequate ration supplies reach such families."