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Tuesday, 17 November 2020

Punjab’s lone cotton cleaning, drying unit defunct since Day 1

Archit Watts
Tribune News Service
Muktsar, November 16

The state's first and lone cotton pre-cleaning, drying machine unit set up at the cotton market in Malout in 2014 is lying unused since its inauguration. The machine, which cost about Rs 2 crore, has been used just once and that too during its inauguration.

Rs2-crore machine turning into scrap

  • Most parts of the machine, which costs about Rs2 crore, are turning into scrap
  • There was a proposal to protect the machine from rain/dust, but it would have cost nearly Rs1 cr, so the idea was dropped, say sources

A visit to the site revealed that most parts of the machine were turning into scrap and wires were broken.

The Punjab State Agricultural Marketing Board had bought the machine from Nagpur in Maharashtra and handed over to the Malout Market Committee for the ease of cotton growers.

The state government had launched this project on no-profit-no-loss basis. The machine has a capacity to clean six tonne cotton per hour, weed out leaves from the cotton crop, also lessen the moisture content as per requirement and improve the quality of cotton fiber for marketing purposes.

Sources in the Malout Market Committee said: "A watchman has been hired to safeguard the machine. Besides, there was a proposal to protect the machine from rain and dust, but its estimated cost was nearly Rs 1 crore, thus the idea was dropped. We have repeatedly written to the Punjab State Agricultural Marketing Board, sought funds to make the machine functional again. The machine was an idea of the then SAD-BJP government and not even the recommendation of the local market committee officials was sought."

A farmer said: "The machine was once used to clean and dry normal variety of cotton, but after the processing almost nothing had come out thus it was never used. There is a fear among farmers that the machine will work on only those varieties that are sown and picked with machines. Even market committee officials have never given any demonstration and the machine is out of order since long."

A senior official of the market committee said: "It is a fact that the dryer in the machine had dried up the cotton and almost nothing had come out when the machine was used once."

Gurpreet Singh Sidhu, secretary, Malout Market Committee, said: "The machine is lying unused for the past five years. We had recently repaired it, but more funds are required for the repairs and other running expenses."



from The Tribune https://ift.tt/3pxTBNr

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