Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, Oct 29:
The Odisha government has decided to disallow defaulting rice millers from taking part in the next round of paddy procurement in the state.
According to the new guidelines prepared by the state government, rice millers can participate in procurement operation for the Kharif Marketing Season 2014-15 only if they have delivered 100% custom milled rice for the paddy taken by them during the Kharif Marketing Season (KMS) 2013-14.
In order to implement the decisions, the government has decided to have a facility to store paddy on temporary basis. It has decided to store 10 lakh metric tonne (MT) of paddy during the Kharif Marketing Season 2014-15 in CAP (cover and plinth) storage locations under the open sky.
Odisha State Civil Supplies Corporation (OSCSC) will manage the CAP storage and MARKFED would take over the responsibility from next Kharif Marketing Season (2015-16), said Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare secretary Madhusudan Padhi in a letter to all the district collectors.
“Over last few years, the number of defaulting millers has been increasing with about 72 millers misappropriating about Rs 150 crores. Few officers have been arrested on the ground of misappropriation by millers and put behind bars in last few months, creating a lot of resentment in the field among officers of the Food Supply & Consumer Welfare Department,” said the letter.
It is to be noted that the quantum of paddy procurement has grown from about 12 Lakh MT in KMS 2003-04 to 36.7 lakh MT in KMS 2012-13 as the state has taken the responsibility of procurement under decentralised procurement (DCP) scheme from 2003-04.
However, despite upfront investment of about Rs.6000 crores annually by OSCSC, the effective control of paddy procurement has remained with the millers because all paddy is being delivered to them with very little security or guarantee.
In order to store paddy in CAP, the government has directed the collectors to identify big market yards of RMCs with boundary/fencing and office space for starting CAP storage from November/December 2014 so as to store the paddy procured by the societies in the current KMS.
CAP storage can also be done in abandoned Krushak Bazars where infrastructure created in the recent past has not been put to use.
“It is suggested that one CAP location should have capacity to store minimum of 5000 MT of paddy so that dedicated manpower for same is efficiently used. A weigh bridge near the CAP location may be identified for conducting transactions (both receipt and issue) at CAP storage point,” said Padhi in the letter.