BALASORE: Worried over the distress sale of paddy, the debt-ridden farmers of Genguti and Saragaon panchayats of Balasore district have threatened mass suicide. They alleged that the cooperative societies entrusted with purchase of paddy from the farmers have closed the mandis, forcing the farmers to sell paddy at throwaway price. The farmers said that the societies which were earlier purchasing paddy from them have now stopped procurement abruptly. After the mandis were closed, the farmers are forced to sell the paddy to local traders at
` 800 a quintal against the minimum support price (MSP) of ` 1,080.
“The government may be euphoric about the paddy procurement in the State but in reality, the farmers are struggling to sell their produce and get the MSP to meet the expenditure and manage their family,” pointed out Narendra Barik, a farmer.
They fear that they may not be able to repay the loan taken from societies. With over 10,000 quintals of paddy to be sold this year, their fears are but obvious. While the local society had set a target of purchasing 8,000 quintals of paddy, it has stopped procurement after buying 6,145 quintals.
Society secretary Kishori Mohan Sahu said “Now procurement has been resumed and we will procure 1,855 quintals of paddy.”