BALASORE: Debt-ridden farmers in Balasore and Bhadrak districts are forced to sell their paddy to the traders from neighbouring States as Government agencies have failed to pay them. Farmers in both the districts are yet to get more than Rs 45 crore from procuring agencies.
As per the Government guideline, farmers selling paddy should get their dues from mandis through cheques within seven days from the date of procurement. Blocks which are covered under the Paddy Purchase Automation System (PPAS) should give farmers their dues through their bank accounts within 72 hours.
Although more than one month has passed, of 90,000 registered farmers in both the districts, more than 15,000 have not yet received their dues. While some are running from pillar to post to get their dues, others, who are in need of funds, are selling their produce to traders from West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh at throwaway price.
While the MSP for a quintal of fair average quality (FAQ) paddy is Rs 1,410, traders from neighbouring States are procuring a quintal of paddy at Rs 900 to Rs 1,000.
A farmer, Amar Jyoti Pal of Srikona village, alleged that Ranasahi Cooperative Society, where he had sold nearly 49 quintals of paddy in February, was yet to pay him Rs 68,000.
Balasore administration had set a target to procure nearly 6.5 lakh quintals of paddy through 160 centres, including Primary Agriculture Co-operative Societies (PACS) in the district. The paddy procurement, that began on December 15, concluded on Thursday.
Similarly, the Bhadrak administration was given a preliminary target to procure seven lakh quintals of paddy through 111 PACS and Markfed. Though the administration had decided to open all mandis from December 18, it got delayed by a few days due to late harvest.
Civil Supply Officer, Balasore, Jayshankar Prasad Manipatra said some farmers could not get their dues due to delay in payment from the Civil Supplies Corporation.