New Delhi [India], March 28 (ANI): In a relief to farmers during the lockdown, the government has granted relaxation to agriculture-farming and allied activities to ensure uninterrupted harvesting of crops.
The Union Home Ministry has issued the second addendum to the guidelines related to the nationwide lockdown and activities related to agriculture have been brought under the exception category from the 21-day lockdown enforced in the country to prevent the spread of coronavirus. A release by Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Ministry on Saturday said that the step will allow unhindered harvesting of crops.
The categories exempted from the lockdown include agencies engaged in procurement of agriculture products, including MSP (minimum support price) operations and ‘mandis’ operated by the Agriculture Produce Market Committee or as notified by the state government.
It also includes farming operations by farmers and farmworkers in the field and ‘Custom Hiring Centres (CHC)’ related to farm machinery. Manufacturing and packaging units of fertilisers, pesticides and seed and intra and inter-state movement of harvesting and sowing related machines are also in the exempted category.
The release said that Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister Narendra Singh Tomar has been constantly monitoring issues related to the farmers since the lockdown was enforced on Tuesday midnight.
It said the issue about difficulties that farmers could face in the harvesting of their crops and transporting foodgrains to markets was considered urgently and sympathetically on directions of Prime Minister and a practical solution was found.
It said the decision will facilitate unhindered activities related to agriculture and farming to ensure that common man continues to get essential supplies and farmers do not face difficulties during the lockdown.
The release said the government has issued necessary directions to the concerned ministries and departments and designated officials of the states and union territories for implementation of the decision.
The Congress had also demanded that harvesting and procurement operations should be declared part of essential services during the lockdown, saying that wheat in an area of 334 lakh hectare was ready to be harvested and farmers will lose 40 per cent of standing crop if they delay harvesting till mid-April.