JAGATSINGHPUR: Farmers of three panchayats under Nuagaon block have failed to register their names online for selling their yield due to the defunct primary agriculture cooperative society (PACS) at Tiruna.
Procurement of paddy will be done only after farmers register their names through the paddy procurement automation system (P-PAS) but farmers of Dabour, Tiruna and Jamugaon panchayats could not enrol themselves for procurement as there are no officials in the PACS to help them through the process. In fact, the PACS is lying defunct in the absence of key officials, including a secretary.
In 2014, the management committee of the society invited application for appointment to the post of secretary from youths of the three panchayats. As many as 19 candidates applied for the post but the recruitment process was delayed till last month.
On September 12, applications of these candidates were verified in the office of Assistant Registrar of Cooperative Societies (ARCS), Jagatsinghpur, and three candidates were shortlisted for the post - Ranjan Kumar Behera, Suchita Swain and Nihar Ranjan Das. However, none of the candidates was selected to the post with members of the ruling party in the area trying to appoint another person to the post.
As the post has been lying vacant, the Agriculture department had engaged one Madhabandha Nayak as in-charge secretary in 2016. However, Nayak and data entry operator of PACS Jayant Kumar Lenka besides, the peon Sovani Mallick were suspended the same year for their alleged involvement in large-scale irregularities in paddy procurement. They had allegedly bought paddy from non-farmers.
Farmers are the worst hit as they are facing problems in paddy procurement, availing loans and registering in P-PAS. Recently, farmers had blocked the main gate of the PACS protesting irregularities in appointment of a secretary. They alleged that neither the local administration nor the ARCS authorities are concerned about the plight of poor farmers of the three panchayats, who are unable to even seek loan for both kharif and rabi seasons.
On the other hand, the Tiruna PACS and Assistant Registrar of Cooperative Societies are blaming each other for delay in appointment of secretary of the PACS. Tiruna PACS president Kalandi Parida said the list of selected candidates was submitted to ARCS last month but no step was taken by the officer thereafter. Contacted, ARCS Ranjan Kumar Mishra said he has no role in engagement of secretary of PACS and its management committee’s responsibility to finalise the appointment process.
Wild animals damage crops
Keonjhar : Elephants and boars have damaged several acres of paddy fields in Champua area of the district. Farmers can barely be seen in their homes and most of them are vigilantly guarding their fields throughout the day. Locals alleged that these wild animals, mainly in peripheral areas of mangrove forest under Champua range, are increasingly posing a risk to farm lands. Animals stray from their habitats, enter their farm lands and destroy their crops. A farmer of Champua Rabi Munda said, “I had taken up paddy cultivation over one acre of land borrowing loans from co-operative bank. There is no hope of bountiful crop this year after wild animals destroyed our farm lands.” Meanwhile, forest officials have started conducting night patrolling in the villages with help of local youths to drive away the elephants and wild boars. Villagers have been advised to avoid movement during night. The department has also formed several night vigil squads. Steps are being taken to compensate farmers who incurred crop loss due to attack by wild animals, they said.