BHUBANESWAR: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Thursday requested intervention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to revise the Central Government order of deleting rice stocks received after the cut-off date from the Central pool as the State Government cannot bear the cost.
If this stock is now deleted from the Central pool, the Odisha Government will have to bear the entire cost of custom milled rice received after the cut-off date, which will run into hundreds of crores of rupees, Naveen said in a letter to the Prime Minister.
As the job of procurement and minimum support price (MSP) operation is the prime responsibility of the Union Government and as the State has taken up the work under the decentralised procurement (DCP) operation, such a step will compel the State Government to opt out from the process, he said.
The Chief Minister said procurement of paddy/rice has increased in the State after adoption of the DCP scheme by the State Government since 2003-04 kharif marketing season (KMS). Odisha has become a surplus State in rice after 2007-08 KMS, he said.
The State Government is meeting the requirement of rice under various schemes from the DCP stock and delivering surplus to the Food Corporation of India (FCI) to meet demands from other States. Even though procurement of paddy has increased in the State during the last six years, the milling and godown capacity for rice storage has not increased proportionately, he said.
Naveen admitted that due to these limitations, the acceptance of rice after milling gets delayed beyond the period allowed by the Centre for the KMS. For 2011-12 and 2012-13 KMS, the cut-off date for receiving rice by FCI was fixed by the Centre as December 31, 2012 and December 31, 2013 respectively, he said.
The FCI has now been instructed by the Centre to delete the rice stocks received after the cut-off date by the State Government from the Central pool accounts. The Chief Minister admitted that rice received after the cut-off date has been utilised by Odisha State Civil Supplies Corporation (OSCSC) in managing public distribution system as part of the Central pool.