Jagtar Singh is a man in a hurry. It’s April 15, and with temperatures starting to soar, the government has just begun procurement of the winter wheat crop. Migrant workers have fled Jagtar’s village, Kailon, in Punjab following the announcement of a lockdown to contain the novel coronavirus pandemic. As a result, there is shortage of farm labour in the village. Jagtar, 47, and his family of six are rushing to harvest their single acre of farmland themselves and sell the crop as early as possible, to prevent it from getting damaged for want of storage space. “We have permission to harvest during the lockdown, but there’s no labour available. So, my entire family has been manually harvesting the crop for the last two days,” Jagtar says. “So far, we have been able to harvest less than half the field. It’s a time-consuming process. After harvesting, we will have to get the threshing done. It will at least take another week to complete the harvest.” Coronavirus | Ensure farmers function without hiccups: Supreme CourtUsually, 90% of the wheat in Punjab and neighbouring Haryana is harvested using combine harvester machines. But with physical distancing norms in place now, for many small… Read full this story
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