Bhopal: The Shivraj Singh Chouhan-led Madhya Pradesh (MP) government has claimed that the state has set a new record in the country, as it has procured 129.28 lakh metric tonnes of wheat for about Rs22,000 crore from 1.48 million farmers in a bid to give them financial relief amid the raging coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak.
The announcement was made after the procurement process for wheat in the state came to an end on Monday.
Payment of about Rs22,000 crore was deposited against the procured wheat in the bank accounts of 1.48 million farmers, the state government said.
“The state has made the highest-ever procurement of wheat. This is an all-time record. No state has ever procured this much quantity of wheat in a year,” said Shivshekhar Shukla, principal secretary, food and civil supply, MP.
“The state government has transported 125 lakh metric tonnes of procured wheat to warehouses, which is around 91% of the total procurement. So far, 100% of the transportation work has been completed in 45 districts. A similar exercise is underway in the remaining seven districts at a fast pace,” said an official press release.
Earlier, the procurement work was delayed until April 19 because of the Covid-19 outbreak. The government wanted to make more procurement than last year in a short span of time because of the farmers’ distress triggered by the pandemic.
The government organised additional gunny bags for 25 metric tonnes, despite the nationwide lockdown restrictions, which were imposed from March 25 to contain the spread of the Covid-19 outbreak, the release added.
“The biggest challenge was to procure more quantity of wheat in a short span of time from a maximum number of farmers amid the pandemic. We increased the number of procurement centres to 4,529 this year, as compared to 3,545 that were set up last year. We sent short message service (SMS) on the farmers’ cellphones and asked them to visit the procurement centres, while adhering to social distancing norms. We sent out about 75 lakh SMSes to the farmers to remain vigilant about Covid-19 and other related information,” Shukla said.