Reported by Ranjan Rath
Nabarangpur, Dec 10
The standoff between the farmers and government of Odisha regarding procurement of paddy continues even two months after the harvest in southern districts of Koraput and Nabarangpur.
While the farmers have demanded procurement of 20 quintals of paddy per acre, the government has stuck to its decision of procuring 12 quintals per acre from non-irrigated land and 18 quintals from irrigated land.
Coming down hard on the government’s paddy procurement policy, ‘Janajati Suraksha Mancha’ convenor Arjun Bhatara asked; Isn’t the government aware that we produce 20-25 quintals of paddy per acres around the bed of rivers Kolab and Indravati?”
Though the procurement centres in these districts have opened since December 1, not a grain has been procured so far because of the dispute, reports said.
While the harvested crops of a majority of farmers are lying in the fields, the farmers who have taken their paddy to the procurement centre (mandi) are unable to sell it due to the ongoing agitation.
“Those who do manage to sell their produce are not paid the minimum support price (MSP) if the moisture level goes beyond a certain limit,” said a farmer.
“We have already spoken to the Food Supply and Consumer Welfare minister and the Chief Minister through the MLAs and MPs of our district but to no avail. We would intensify the protests if the government fails to fulfill our demands soon,” warned coordinator of the farmer’s union Jhadeswar Khadenga.
District supply officer Dubaraj Majhi said he had not received any specific instruction from the government to make any changes to the volume of procurement.
Meanwhile, Nabarangpur collector Sadiq Alam has convened a high level meeting with the farmer leaders on Thursday to discuss the issue.