BERHAMPUR: Uncertainty prevails over the achievement of paddy procurement target in the district even as there are reports of distress sale.
Sources said procurement began in December last and the target of 1.92 lakh metric tonnes had to be achieved by January-end. Apart from local SHGs, Markfed, Nafed and local rice millers were to procure paddy. But till Monday, only 75,000 tonne of paddy had been purchased, according to official figures.
Since most of the farmers had already sold their paddy, it may not be possible to achieve the target, admitted an official. Similar was the situation last year when procurement target was 1.46 lakh tonne and only 92,000 tonne could be procured.
Sources said the district administration had decided to open mandis in each block by January 14 and fixed the MSP at Rs 1,080 per 75 kg.
However, only a few mandis were opened by the stipulated date and they purchased very less quantity before stopping procurement on the pretext of paucity of funds.
The situation worsened with procurement officials of Markfed and Nafed being given panchayat poll duty.
Cashing in on the situation, traders from Andhra Pradesh purchased paddy from the farmers at Rs 800 per 75 kg.
Protesting lack of administrative will, a group of farmers under the Rushikulya Rayat Mahasabha met the ADM-cum-Collector (incharge) Nirmal Misra on Tuesday. Misra then directed the district Civil Supplies Officer to prepare a list of farmers who are yet to sell their paddy.