Bhubaneswar, Feb 5:
Members from both opposition and treasury benches in the Odisha Assembly today expressed grave concern over the delay in payment to farmers for the paddy procured at market yards opened by the government and the role of middlemen in paddy procurement in the state in general and Kalahandi district in particular.
Acknowledging the concern expressed by the members, Minister for Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare, Pratap Keshari Deb told the House that the Vigilance has been asked to probe the issue of middlemen and blamed the banks for the delay in payments.
The minister informed the House that a total of 1988 mandis (market yards) have been opened for paddy procurement in the state by January 31.
He said while April 30 has been fixed as the last date for paddy procurement in the state, 21.95 lakh metric tonnes of paddy has been procured till date.
Disaster assistance (bonus) of Rs 100 per quintal of paddy will be paid to farmers after completion of paddy procurement for kharif season, he added.