JEYPORE: The district administration has issued a notice to Koraput millers to sign the agreement for custom milling of paddy in the Kharif Marketing Season 2018-19 by November 25 or face disciplinary action.
Although 90 millers had expressed interest in participating in the paddy procurement process that was to begin from November 9, they did not sign the agreement with the District Civil Supply Office over certain demands. With the millers abstaining, primary agriculture cooperative societies (PACS) have not been able to purchase paddy from farmers. Procurement was done in Kusumi village on November 9 for some hours and was stopped. As many as 107 mandis have been opened in both Koraput and Jeypore sub-divisions for procurement.
The district administration had decided to procure 14.5 lakh quintals of paddy through PACS from 33,000 farmers and give it to millers for custom milling in the current kharif season.
Members of Koraput Millers Association have demanded various facilities from the district administration during paddy procurement. The demands include supply of gunny bags by the State Civil Supply Corporation to stock paddy in the mandis after procurement, facilities to transport procured paddy from mandis to milling points and clearance of their dues among other things.
They had submitted a memorandum to the district administration and since the demands have not been fulfilled, they did not sign the agreement.
Paddy was cultivated in 45,000 hectares of land in Jeypore sub-division and 70 per cent of crops have been harvested. Small and medium farmers of Jeypore, Kotpad, Boiparigua, Lamtaput, Nandapur, Kundra and Borrigumma blocks have already harvested one lakh quintals of paddy in the last 15 days. They had appealed to the district administration to begin procurement at the earliest to avoid distress sale.
Considering gravity of the situation, the District Civil Supply Officer issued a notice to the Koraput Millers Association directing the 90 millers to sign the agreement and submit their bank guarantee amount and other document by Sunday failing which, they will be debarred from participating in the procurement process. The civil supply officials will be present in the office on Sunday to collect the document.
Following this, some millers met District Civil Supply Officer on Saturday and expressed their willingness to sign the agreement. Collector KS Chakrabarti reviewed the procurement situation and said strong action will be taken against the millers if they continue to delay the process. Sources said the district administration is contemplating to rope in millers from other districts if there is further delay in procurement.