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Blow to farmers in Odisha as crop loans to be converted to commercial

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Bhubaneswar: Taking stern initiative to curb misuse of loans made for farming, Odisha government asked the officials to convert the crop loans into commercial loans with interest of 12 percent.

Cooperation Minister Surya Narayan Patro on Friday directed that the farmers will have to repay the loan amount at interest rate of 12% instead of 1% for violating the rules if they are found to have not participated in paddy procurement process.

Amidst farmers’ agitations demanding waive off their loans, the government’s move to convert crop loans into commercial loans is likely to provoke another massive protest by several farmers’ outfits.

The government record says that last year, around 19 lakh farmers had taken crop loans but only 9.77 lakh farmers participated in the paddy procurement process. The officials are yet to get the reason why remaining over 9 lakh farmers did not sell paddy.

On the other hand, strong action will be taken against the primary cooperative society or miller or the private firm if any of these is found to have bought paddy below the fixed price of Rs 1,550 per quintal from the farmers. The concerned body’s authority will be arrested for violating the norms.

According to reports, the State is likely to have drought-like situation due to insufficient rainfall this year. Although, the government has not declared drought in the state so far, the possibility of having minimal production could not be ignored.

On the other hand, the registration process for selling the paddy is underway till November. As the number of farmers’ registration is not upto mark, it created concern for the government. Last year, around 6.10 lakh farmers had made registration with the government while the number is registered only 5.32 lakh this year.

In view of decline number of farmers’ registration, the government has decided to create awareness among farmers in the villages. The sharecroppers will also be suggested for taking part in the registration process so that they can easily sell their produces without any hassle.

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