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Chandigarh: Following the assurance from Punjab Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister Gurmeet Singh Khudian, Arthias (Commission Agents) of the state on Thursday called off their strike with immediate effect. The Agriculture Minister asked the Arthias, procurement agencies and the Punjab Mandi Board to ensure that farmers should not face any kind of difficulty during ongoing paddy procurement season.

The Agriculture Minister along with Punjab Mandi Board Chairman Mr Harchand Singh Barsat, was chairing a meeting with the representatives of the Federation of Arthias Association of Punjab led by President Vijay Kalra here at Kisan Bhawan to discuss their issues and concerns.

On issues regarding biometric procurement system and EPF raised by Arthias, the Agriculture Minister assured them that their concerns would be taken with the Union Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution for their early resolution. He also asked the Deputy General Manager (DGM) of Food Corporation of India (FCI) Mr. Alok Kumar to present a report on these issues within ten days.

Meanwhile, Secretary Punjab Mandi Board Ms Amrit Kaur Gill apprised the Agriculture Minister regarding the current status of implementation of biometric procurement system in the state. She informed that the system has been put in place in 876 Mandis so far in the state. She further added that the Mandi Board has 5400 vacant/saleable plots under the new Mandi Township department and the department is planning to sell these plots via e-auction.

S. Gurmeet Singh Khudian also directed Punjab Mandi Board officials to ensure basic amenities including drinking water, toilets and sitting space for farmers at all the Mandis of the state. He said that if anyone found indulging in bypassing the procurement process and other illegal activities will be dealt severally.

Reiterating the commitment of Chief Minister S. Bhagwant Singh Mann led Punjab Government to ensure the welfare of all sections of the society, the Agriculture Minister said that the state government would extend every possible help to Arthias and farmers of the state, besides, taking initiatives to strengthen the Arthia-Kisan bond.

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