LAHORE – The maiden meeting of the Punjab Cabinet , with Chief Minister Najam Sethi in the chair, on Saturday approved procurement of four million metric tonnes of wheat for the year 2013-14.
The meeting, attended by provincial ministers, chief secretary and officials concerned, also gave approval to the wheat procurement campaign 2013-14.
Sethi told the meeting that farmers would be given due return of their produce during wheat procurement campaign and the campaign will continue in a transparent manner.
He said that the process of distribution of gunny bags (bardana) among the farmers would be transparent and impartial. He warned that in case of any complaint, strict disciplinary action will be taken.
The chief minister said the Punjab government has fixed 40 lakh metric tonne as wheat procurement target.
He said all arrangements have been completed and the process of distribution of bardana among the farmers will be started from April 15 throughout the province whereas formal purchase of wheat would be started from April 20.
He directed the officials concerned that the process of distribution of bardana among farmers should be completely transparent and its provision to small farmers should be ensured on a priority basis.
 He disclosed that 376 wheat procurement centres have been set up throughout the province out of which, 183 are flag centres whereas 193 are formal storage centres.
The chief minister said the provincial caretaker cabinet has decided that the role of middleman should be discouraged during the wheat procurement campaign for providing maximum benefit to farmers.
He directed authorities concerned to take such effective steps for stopping the role of middleman during wheat procurement campaign as could result in maximum benefit to the farmers.
He said that complaint centres regarding wheat procurement would be established at provincial, district and division level where farmers could get register their complaints. He said that the complaint centres will take immediate notice of any complaint of the farmers and remove it on priority basis. The chief minister said that wheat procurement campaign would be monitored on daily basis and procurement centres will remain open from 8am to 5pm without break.
While reiterating the government pledge to ensure to free and fair elections, he said that law and order in the province will be maintained.