Resentment is brewing among the farmers against the failure of the administration in procuring paddy. Thousands of bags of paddy continue to be lying in market yards across the district.
Kuchinda sub-division of the district was the worst affected with the farmers alleging that their paddy is being rejected by the procuring agencies on one plea or the other.
It is alleged that the delay is caused deliberately to force the farmers to sell their produce at lower price to middlemen who in turn will sell it to the procuring agencies.
Though paddy procurement during the kharif season was started on November 22 in the district, widespread resentment cropped up among farmers over non-procurement of paddy from the day one while the district administration was clueless.
While the Primary Agricultural Cooperative Societies (PACS) who have been designated as procuring agency along with Odisha State Civil Supplies Corporation Limited are insisting on Fare Average Quality (FAQ) paddy to offer minimum support price (MSP), the farmers are demanding that their paddy should be accepted by relaxing the norms and they should be paid MSP.
Meanwhile, to ward off any confrontation in the election year, the State Government has enhanced the target of procurement of paddy from 1.4 lakh tonnes to 1. 98 lakh tonnes for the district. While the district administration is reportedly mooting to close down procurement in Sambalpur Sadar by the end of next week, it will be shut down in Kuchinda and Rairakhol sub-divisions by the month-end. However, despite the enhancement of the procurement target, it remains to be seen whether the entire paddy could be procured from the market yards or the farmers will be left to be exploited by middlemen.
Contacted, Food and Civil Supplies Officer, Sambalpur, Bijay Rath exuded confidence that the total paddy stock will be lifted with the State Government enhancing the target.
The process has slowed down due to truckers’ stir and Puspuni festival, he added.