NEW DELHI: Easing movements of farmers for harvest operations and procurement of their produce, the Centre on Friday put them under a list of regulated exemptions during the lockdown period. It will bring a big relief to farmers who had to harvest their crops, sell it in ‘mandis’ (agri markets) and begin preparation for next crop cycle.
In an order, issued by home ministry, farmers, farm workers, custom hiring centres for farm machineries, procurement agencies, inter-state and intra-state movement of combine harvesters, and manufacturing units and packaging units of pesticides, fertilisers and seeds are now kept under the exempted categories — it means their movements can be allowed during the lockdown period. The district authorities will regulate these movements.
The home ministry issued this list of exemptions in the wake of demands from farmers as they could not afford to leave their Rabi (winter sown) crops in the field during the lockdown period which coincides with the main harvest season.
The crops of wheat, gram, mustard and lentils are ready for harvest in Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and other parts in central India.
Many farmers on Wednesday told TOI how the lockdown would hit them badly if they won’t be allowed to harvest their crops in coming two weeks.
Different states including Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Punjab, meanwhile, issued guidelines on harvesting and threshing in the respective states, allowing farmers to continue with these operations during the lockdown period after taking certain precautions such as social distancing, use of sanitiser and regular hand washing.