BALASORE: Adding to a plethora of problems, the farmers of Balasore district now face a new issue - gunny bags. The service cooperative societies have refused to procure paddy from farmers as the Odisha State Civil Supplies Corporation (OSCSC) Ltd and Food Corporation of India (FCI) fight over the quality of gunny bags to keep paddy.
While the societies blame millers for not lifting paddy from their respective godowns, millers hold the FCI responsible for not lifting rice. The FCI in turn, accuses OSCSC of supplying poor quality gunny bags which do not match the standard. As per the prescribed guideline, weight of gunny bags should be between 550 gms and 580 gms each. However, the bags supplied by the corporation, as per order of the State Government, weigh around 450 gms each.
At least 23 millers have made an agreement with the Civil Supplies Department to lift paddy. A rice miller said the FCI refused to accept rice due to weak gunny bags.
Societies claimed that they are unable to procure paddy as they do not have storage space. They said farmers, who had sold paddy, have not received payment for over a month.
While the farmers have registered their names to sell nearly 29.11 lakh quintals of paddy, societies have so far procured around 14 lakh quintals. Besides, the farmers who cultivated paddy as share croppers, have been losing at least `200 to `300 per quintal as the land owners who are registered as farmers take the money for allowing them to sell paddy through their cards.
Although the rice millers are asked to deliver 68 per cent of rice quota to the corporation and 32 per cent to FCI, they are apprehensive of not receiving much rice as the quality of paddy is low. The farmers are also at the receiving end. Basanta Dalai, a farmer, said due to the recent rain, moisture content in the grains has gone up.