MALKANGIRI : There seems to be no end to the paddy procurement crisis in the district.The procurement process was started at 62 mandis across the district from November 28 last year. While all seven Large Area Multi-purpose Cooperative Societies (LAMPS) across the district are participating in the process, around 21 millers are lifting paddy from the procurement centres tagged to them.
Former Deputy Speaker of Assembly Prahallad Dora and the farmers’ body have threatened to stage 24x7 dharna in front of the Collector’s office from Monday. In a letter to Malkangiri Collector and SP on Sunday, Dora said the State Government has failed miserably in procuring paddy from the farmers of Malkangiri.
On Friday, Dora had given 48-hour ultimatum to the State Government to lift paddy from the various centres alleging thousands of bags of paddy are yet to be procured by LAMPS. Paddy bags are lying in Salami, Mathili, Govindpalli, Kudmulgumma, Somnathpur, Niladrinagar, Korukonda, Padmagiri, Potteru and Kalimela centres for days forcing farmers to spend sleepless nights.
Contacted, District Civil Supply Officer Abhimanyu Mohanty said of the 33,000 registered farmers, LAMPS have procured paddy only from 14,839 farmers so far. The Government had directed to procure 8,200 quintal paddy in the first phase and another 150 quintal in the second phase, Mohanty said, adding that `92.156 crore has been paid to the various farmers towards procurement in various centres.
The procurement process will continue till February 15, he said.
District Adivasi Samaj Mahasangha president Ghenu Muduli alleged that LAMPS authorities are deducting minimum support price of 5-10 kg of paddy from every gunny bag of 50 kg stating that the stock is not of fair average quality (FAQ). While small and marginal farmers are the worst sufferers, brokers and middlemen are able to get the tokens easily.
With paddy stock not being procured for days together, distress sell of paddy has been reported from many places with small farmers preferring to sell their produce to brokers or middlemen from outside the district, Muduli added. He alleged that brokers are selling paddy in procurement centres by disguising themselves as farmers.