TITLAGARH:The onion growers of Titlagarh in Balangir district are facing similar fate of potato farmers of neighbouring Sambalpur district. In both cases, the farmers are forced to sell their produce at distress price in absence of infrastructure to stock the produce.
With the monsoon gaining momentum and no godown to store the produce, the farmers of Titlagarh have been left with no option but to sell their produce at throwaway prices.
In Titlagarh, considered Nashik of Odisha, onion is grown in around 20,000 hectares of land, particularly in Titlagarh, Muribahal and Bongomunda blocks. The sub-division alone produces about 20,000 tonnes of onion each season. Despite growing the crop in abundance, the farmers end up selling it to middlemen and traders at Rs five per kg. The produce is later sold at Rs 25 per kg in retail market, depriving the growers of profit.
Though a storage unit, Integrated Pack House of APICOL, constructed at a cost of Rs five crore is ready for use, it is yet to be made operational even after six months of completion due to lack of electricity connection.
Sources said, it will require installation of a 750 kv transformer besides electricity charging for which Rs 20 lakh has to be spent.
The power connection is hanging in balance for want of land for installation of equipment. Unit manager of the pack house, Jyoti Prakash Sahu said two acres of the land is still under the control of Revenue Department. It has to be handed over to APICOL to facilitate electricity connection. Though the process for alienation of the land was initiated in January 2013, it is moving at a snail’s pace delaying the entire process, said sources.
The pack house has a capacity to store 500 tonnes of onion and potential to employ about 100 labourers besides other staff.