As the State Government agencies are going slow on paddy procurement, rice millers and private traders are making a kill by purchasing kharif paddy much below the minimum support price announced by the Centre.
Reports coming from major paddy procuring districts like Bargarh, Sambalpur, Kalahandi and Balangir said that farmers are selling their paddy to rice millers at mandis at lesser price to avoid long wait to deliver the same to Government appointed agencies at minimum support price (MSP) of ` 1,310 per quintal.
“Rice millers are purchasing paddy at ` 900-1,000 per quintal while private traders pay even less as they procure it from door to door,” leader of BJP legislature party Jaynarayan Mishra said.Mishra alleged that the mandis opened by the Government are being managed by agents of the rice millers. Although the market yards belong to the Regulated Market Committees (RMCs) of the Cooperation department, the RMC employees are not visible.
Stating that huge quantity of paddy have started arriving at the mandis, president of All Odisha Farmers Association Ashok Pradhan said a cut of five to seven kgs of paddy per quintal by the procuring agencies has hit the farmers hard.
Besides, the online payment introduced by the Government to make the transaction more transparent has been proved a bane for the farmers as they have to wait for weeks to get their dues. The cost of paddy is directly deposited in the farmer’s account, Pradhan said.
Reacting to the special calamity assistance of ` 100 per quintal of paddy announced by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik at Bargarh recently, the farmers’ leader said the Government takes more than what is pays. An average cut of five kg of paddy a bag (100 kg) is a hug loss to the farmers.
Even after a month of State’s request to the Centre for providing relaxation under FAQ (fair average quality) norms, the Ministry of Food Supplies is yet to respond. The Central committee which visited the flood affected areas of some western districts including Bargarh is reported to have submitted its report to the Ministry on December 6.
There will be price cut even during procurement of paddy under relaxed specification (URS) and this will neither benefit the farmers nor the State Government, official sources said.
The Food Corporation of India (FCI) will not accept URS rice and the State Government will have to make its domestic consumption, the sources said.
■ Paddy procuring districts like Bargarh, Sambalpur, Kalahandi and Balangir said that farmers are selling their paddy to rice millers at mandis at lesser price to avoid long wait
■Online payment introduced by the Government to make the transaction more transparent has been proved a bane for the farmers as they have to wait for weeks to get their dues