Business sinks in mandis of flood-hit Lohian - Mandi Gobindgarh News

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Friday, October 11, 2019

Business sinks in mandis of flood-hit Lohian


Business sinks in mandis of flood-hit Lohian

Aakanksha N Bhardwaj 

Tribune News Service 

Jalandhar, October 10 

Major Singh (62) of Gidderpindi village visits the local mandi almost every day. He invariably chooses a quiet corner to sit. Owning four acres of land, he made good money last season. But this year, he has nothing to sell, his entire crop having been devoured by floods. “My house damaged too, where else do I have to go? I spend the entire day at the mandi with fellow farmers,” he says. About 2,65,000 bags of paddy had arrived at the Gidderpindi mandi last year. This time it is almost nil.  While mandis elsewhere in Punjab are thronged by farmers, there is little activity at mandis in the Lohian block. Not just farmers, commission agents too are in trouble, the latter having made payments in advance to contractors and labourers, who now have nothing to do.

One of the commission agents said during the corresponding period last year, around 35,000 bags had arrived at the Gidderpindi mandi. This time the number was just 2,000. At the Nahl mandi, compared to the 1,60,000 bags received last year, the commission agents expect less than 50,000. There are a total of seven mandis in the Lohian block — Gidderpindi, Nahl, Kang Khurd, Mehrajwala, Kamalpur, Turna and Lohian. 

The Tribune team that visited these mandis saw most labourers sitting idle. One of them at the Lohian mandi said, “It has been 15 days but we are yet to get work. It will be difficult for us to feed our families in such a scenario.” A commission agent said he had already paid a contractor for hiring 30 labourers. “It now seems only 10 will be required,” he said.

Another worried commission agent, Surinder Gupta, observed: “Last year, 6.5 lakh bags had arrived at the two Lohian mandis. This year, we expect 50-60 per cent less.”

NOWHERE TO GO

My crop destroyed and house damaged, where else can I go? I spend the entire day at the mandi with fellow farmers. Major Singh

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