MALKANGIRI: Farmers of the district hit the streets on Thursday protesting delay in procurement and lifting of paddy. They blocked major roads including the state highways by placing paddy bags on them.
The farmers alleged that they have been stranded at the mandis with their produce for the last 20 days as the procurement process was yet to begin despite being announced a month back.
Vehicular traffic was affected on the Malkangiri-Jeypore State Highway at Padmagiri and Mathili, Malkangiri-Balimela road at Korukonda and Pottrel, Malkangiri -Motu road at Kalimela and Balimela -Jeypore road at Kudmulgumma as the protestors under the District Adivasi Samaj Mahasangha resorted to the blockade.
Mahasangha president Ghenu Muduli said the farmers had brought their paddy produce to mandis last month for procurement but the Large Area Multi-purpose Cooperative Societies (LAMPS) officials are yet to purchase and lift the stock. The farmers have thus been forced to stay back at the procurement centres to guard the grains.
He alleged that LAMPS officials are not procuring paddy and tagged millers are not lifting the stock citing low quality. “Farmers have been waiting at the mandis for the last 20 days for procurement”, he said.
Chitrakonda SDPO Manas Barik, District Civil Supply Officer Abhimanyu Mohanty rushed to Korukonda and tried to pacify the agitating farmers. The blockade was withdrawn after he assured farmers at Korukonda to procure and lift paddy from all the mandis within three days.