BALANGIR: The district administration will start paddy procurement for 2016-17 kharif marketing season (KMS) from November 25. It was decided during the district paddy procurement committee meeting chaired by Collector Ashis Thakre here on Monday.
The meeting attended by senior district officials and people’s representatives has set a target of 10.5 lakh quintals of paddy to be procured through 158 Primary Agricultural Cooperative Societies (PACS) in the district. The centres will remain open three days in a week.
As per the minimum support price (MSP) fixed by the Centre, farmers would get `1,470 per quintal for common variety of paddy. The rate of Grade-A variety of paddy has been fixed at `1,510 per quintal. Procuring agencies and district administration are making wide publicity regarding the FAQ (fair average quality) of paddy. The paddy would be procured from farmers who are registered in the website of Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare department.
However, Leader of Opposition and Balangir MLA Narasingh Mishra, who was present in the meeting, criticised the administration for its lack of preparation for paddy procurement. While most of the PACS don’t have equipment to measure moisture level and paddy quality, farmers used to lose around 10 kg paddy per bag during FAQ testing, he added.
On the other hand, Food Corporation of India (FCI) has failed to determine FAQ of paddy despite having all infrastructure. Though the Orissa High Court in a judgment had directed the FCI to procure paddy from the farmers in Balangir district at the MSP as fixed by the Centre, the Corporation shows no interest towards procurement, he alleged.
The objective of the judgment was to ensure that there was no distress sale and that the millers should not be the sole procurers.