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*Unable to run units to capacity for want of enough raw cotton, ginners face losses in Punjab*

2021-11-29 07:26:16
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*Unable to run units to capacity for want of enough raw cotton, ginners face losses in Punjab*

*Most ginning factories working between 25-50% of capacity while nearly 10 units in Bathinda and Mansa districts of Punjab are lying shut*

*All 82 cotton ginning units of Punjab are unable to keep their operations running to capacity due to a shortage of nearly one-fourth of the required natural fibre in the market.*

*shut in Bathinda and Mansa.*

*A leading cotton ginner from Malout in Muktsar Bhagwan Bansal said against the average minimum requirement of 150 bales or 750 quintals per day, meagre 200 quintal cotton is available for processing. “A cotton ginning unit operator has to pay about ₹10 lakh fixed electricity charges for the nine-month season from September 1 onwards. As the pest attack has severely hit crop production, we are unable to run factories. We have to pay fixed charges even when electricity is not used,” he said.*

*For the current season, ginners were expecting 60 lakh quintal raw cotton after Punjab saw an increase of 25% area under cotton. As per Punjab Mandi Board data, different districts of south Malwa had recorded sales of 8.60 lakh quintals till November 27.*

*Board authorities opine the production this year may be around 25 lakh quintals while the industry say cotton arrival may touch the 30-35 lakh quintal mark.*

*Punjab Cotton Mills and Ginning Association president Suresh Bansal said owing to the negligent attitude of the state government, 76% of factories closed down since 2005. He blames the absence of a dedicated policy for agriculture and the industrial sector in Punjab.*

*“Punjab had 335 ginning factories 16 years ago that came down to 82 in 2021. In 2005, factories were ginning 18 lakh bales or 90 lakh quintals in a season and in 2020-21 kharif season, Punjab produced 49 lakh quintals,” he said.*

*“After irrigation system strengthened in over last decade, farmers of the semi-arid region of Malwa switched from the traditional cotton to less labour-intensive crop of non-basmati rice. Kotkapura town used to be a major purchase centre where 20-lakh quintal cotton was a regular feature 10-12 years ago. In 2020-21, the entire Faridkot district registered the arrival of mere 50,000 quintals. It shows the government has failed to set its priorities right,” said Bansal.*

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