No Distress Sale of Paddy in West Odisha, Says Government - The New Indian Express

No Distress Sale of Paddy in West Odisha, Says Government

Published: 05th December 2013 09:06 AM

Last Updated: 05th December 2013 09:06 AM

The State Government on Wednesday refuted the Opposition’s allegation of distress sale of paddy in Western Odisha due to non-procurement by Government appointed agencies.

Responding to admissibility of an adjournment motion moved by Congress chief whip Prasad Harichandan, Minister of State for Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare Pratap Keshari Deb said mandis (market yards) have been opened in five districts of Bargarh, Boudh, Kalahandi, Nuapada, Sambalpur and Subarnapur.

“Paddy procurement has just started in six districts as against eight districts during the corresponding period last year,” Deb said.

The cyclone followed by heavy rains and floods on October 12 have severely impacted kharif crops in 18 districts. Collectors of three more districts - Bargarh, Kalahandi and Sambalpur - also reported damage of standing crops due to the heavy rains.

The State Government requested the Centre to send a team to assess the damage and the quality of the paddy in the affected districts.

A Central team visited the affected districts including Bargarh and Kalahandi and submitted a report to the Centre.

Since the State Government had requested the Centre for relaxation in quality (fair average quality) of paddy, it is waiting for a reply. As the paddy in the affected districts will not qualify FAQ standard, the rice to be procured from these districts will be consumed within the State.

Besides, the State Government advised the farmers to not harvest paddy crops after the meteorological department predicted another cyclone.

The Government has taken adequate measures for paddy procurement and there is no truth in the Congress allegation, he added.

“The State Government is yet to fix a target to procure paddy from farmers. It has not conveyed the target set for the districts either. While the farmers are selling their paddy in distress, the callous government has not even bothered to open mandis in six districts,”  Congress MLA Anup Sai said while initiating the debate.

Alleging distress sale of paddy, Congress member Naba Kishore Das, Jayanarayan Mishra (BJP) and Independent member Pratap Sarangi said not a single mandi has been opened.

Terming the Opposition allegation as baseless, the Minister said the Government is concerned about the interests of farmers and is taking whatever steps are required.

The Congress, not satisfied with the replay of the Minister, staged a walk out.

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