Mandis (market yards) of primary agriculture cooperative societies (PACS) do not have sufficient infrastructure for smooth procurement of paddy in this kharif season. Besides, there are not enough rice mills tagged with these mandis to lift paddy.
Sources said 71 lakh quintals of surplus paddy have been produced in the district in the current kharif season. Odisha Civil Supply Corporation has entrusted 118 mandis run by PACS to procure paddy on its behalf. However, out of these mandis, only 18 have permanent sheds and godown facilities to protect paddy from natural calamities. Besides, only 48 have pucca houses whereas the rest mandis are located in open fields without having sheds. As a result, in the event of bad weather, the procured paddy is likely to be damaged.
Unfortunately, no step has been taken to construct permanent sheds in mandis despite the fact that the PACS as well as regulated marketing committees earn profit from procurement.
Apart from lack of infrastructure in the mandis, less number of rice mills has been tagged with mandis to lift paddy this season. Against 87 rice mills last year, only 63 mills were found eligible this year based on their performance in the last procurement season.
To meet the crisis, district administration has decided to construct permanent sheds in the existing mandis in a phased manner.
During finalisation of annual action plan under Biju KBK Yojana for 2013-14 in August, the officials concerned proposed to construct sheds with pucca platforms in one or two mandis each in five blocks which produce more paddy in the first phase. Each of these pucca sheds will cost `10 lakh. The blocks are Jaipatna, Junagarh, Kalampur, Dharamgarh and Koksara and the block officials have been asked to submit their requirements to Government for approval.
However, the proposals which were approved by the State Government’s Planning & Coordination Department are yet to reach the district administration for implementation. On the other hand, Cooperative Department has also not taken any step to fund the PACS to construct permanent platforms, sheds and storage facilities.