Even though the Punjab Government is claiming that there is no shortage of gunny bags in grain markets during the ongoing wheat procurement, the directorate of Food and Civil Supplies has directed procurement officers in at least eight districts to reuse old gunny bags.In a communication sent to Punjab Grain Procurement Corporation Limited (Pungrain) district managers (DMs) of Kapurthala, Barnala, Sangrur, Nawanshahr, Tarn Taran, Muktsar, Faridkot and Hoshiarpur, the directorate has permitted the authorities concerned to utilise ‘once-used’ gunny bags for wheat storage.As per the letter, these districts are collectively facing a shortage of 8,524 bales (each bale contains 500 gunny bags). The directorate has given its nod to reuse 5,100 old gunny-bag bales to bridge the gap. A total of 21,431 bales of once-used gunny bags are available in these districts.However, there is a rider that only those gunny bags should be considered for reuse which were used during last year’s kharif season.When contacted, Shiv Dullar Singh Dhillon, Director, Food and Civil Supplies, confirming the move. “Yes, it (reuse of bags) has been allowed by the Centre, with certain conditions.”A senior officer, requesting anonymity, said, “There is scarcity of new gunny bags in some districts.”Sources said the storage of wheat in used gunny bags was usually discouraged as such bags reduced the shelf life of the produce in godowns and also increased foodgrain loss during transportation.Punjab requires around 4.12 lakh bales for about 100 lakh metric tonnes of wheat, which is projected to arrive in the state’s grain markets this season. The state is using around 2.5 lakh bales of gunny bags and the gap will be bridged with about 1.72 lakh polypropylene bags.
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