Reported by Ranjan Rath
Malkangiri, Jan 16:
Paddy procurement by the the Odisha government in backward Malkangiri district is in complete disarray forcing poor farmers to resort to distress sale of their produuce.
While procurement is over at 80% centres in other districts of the state, it is complete only in 17% centres in Malkangiri.
“The supplies department of government is refusing to procure paddy on the ground that it is not of the required quality,” said farmer Kiran Biswas.
“We are being forced to selle the harvested crop to millers of neighbouring states like Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh as we don’t have any provision to store the crop here,” said another farmer Sumant Ray.
The harvested paddy is lying either in front of procurement centres ir in front of the hous of farmerses. What makes matters worse is the intermittent rainfall around the area.
“We are in distress and are waiting for the government to procure our harvest, so that we can pay back the loans we have taken,” said Suraj Mallick, a farmer.
The District Supplies Officer Raghunath Gamang has a different view though.
“We had certain issues in opening procurement centres initially.Also, paddy in Malkangiri is not of Fair Average Quantity (FAQ), which is creating further huddles in the procurement process. We are trying our best to sort out the issues as soon as possible. We will take stringent action against smugglers and agents to prevent smuggling of paddy to other states and control the distress sale,” said Gamang.