LAHORE - Punjab Government has banned private purchase, storage and transportation of wheat in the province setting a wheat procurement target of 4.5 million tons. A high level meeting chaired by Punjab Chief Secretary Major (r) Azam Suleman Khan on Tuesday decided that only the license holders will be allowed to purchase the grains during the wheat procurement campaign. It also set a wheat procurement target of 4.5 million tons for this year.

The meeting was attended by the Additional Chief Secretary, Secretary Food Department, Commissioner Lahore Division and officers concerned whereas divisional commissioners joined through video link.

Addressing the meeting, the Chief Secretary said that under the policy, private purchase, transportation and storage of wheat except for personal use had been disallowed. Feed mills and unregistered seed companies would not be permitted purchasing wheat as well, he maintained.

The Chief Secretary directed the field officers to work day and night to meet the wheat procurement target. He directed that all possible facilities be provided to farmers and SOPs regarding coronavirus be implemented at wheat procurement centres by disinfecting premises and ensuring availability of masks, sanitizers and soap for hand washing.

He also ordered stern action against hoarders, asking administrative officers to coordinate with law-enforcement agencies to check hoarding. He said that policy of ‘first come first serve’ would be followed in the campaign, adding that limit of ‘Bardana’ would be from 200 to 1000 sacks.

The meeting also decided to depute officials of law-enforcement agencies and civil defence at each centre and set up dispute resolution committees at district level to address farmers’ problems.

The meeting was briefed that online registration of farmers and issuance of ‘Bardana’ has started in Rajanpur district. The meeting was told that inter-provincial and district movement of wheat would be regulated through an application developed in collaboration with Punjab Information Technology Board.