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Punjab gearing up for record cotton output
Jun '11
Punjab government is gearing up for a record cotton production during the current crop season and has established 25 new 'cotton mandis'. Under 'Technology Mission of Cotton' programme sponsored by the Central Government, 19 of these mandis have been provided with first-class infrastructural facilities.

With the setting up of 25 new mandis, the total number of cotton mandis in Punjab has gone up to 42.

25 of these mandis have state-of-the-art facilities. These are Bhikhi, Rama Mandi, Bhucho, Bathinda, Fazilka, Sardoolgarh, Bariwala, Lehragaga, Barnala, Malout, Mukatsar, Mansa, Giderbaha, Tapa, Sunam, Bareta, Talwandi Sabo, Jaito, Kotkapura, Budhlada, Sangat Mandi, Rampura Phool, Maur, Abohar, and Goniana.

The area under cotton cultivation in the State has gone up from last season's 4.83 lakh hectare to 5.50 lakh hectare this year. Accordingly, the cotton production in the State is also expected to be around 4.38 bales (1 bale = 170 kg) more than last year's output of 18.22 lakh bales, taking the total output to a record 22.50 lakh bales this year.

In view of the expected increase in cotton output, the government has made necessary arrangements for transportation and storage of the crop. In addition, the government has laid new roads inside the mandis leading to the warehouses, where the crop would be stored.

For the first time, the Punjab government has set up 'Cotton Grading Laboratories', which would draw crop samples and carry out grading of the same. The grading would be displayed on the notice boards in the mandis.

The government has even installed high-tech weighing machines that will allow weighing of crop along with trolleys. This will save the time of the farmers and other workers. Also, separate cemented floors and public utilities have been built in the mandis.

The current rise in the crop sown area is being attributed to increase in cotton prices in international market, which enticed the farmers to take up cotton cultivation on a larger area. During 2009-10 Kharif season, around 5.11 lakh hectares of land was under cotton cultivation, which generated an output of 20.06 lakh bales.

The Punjab government has devised a multipurpose plan to help the farmers to reap best returns for their cotton produce locally. The plan includes persuading farmers to grow cotton, setting up a Handloom Industry Park at Kapurthala and a Textile Park in Bathinda.

Editor's note-The steps taken by the Punjab government will definitely go a long way in enriching the lives of cotton cultivators.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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