BALANGIR: Kantabanji MLA Santosh Singh Saluja on Sunday alleged exploitation of farmers by millers and demanded that the latter should not be allowed entry into the market yards. Upset after receiving complaints from sellers in various mandis, he demanded that millers should stay out of the market yards and warned of dire consequence if any Primary Agricultural Credit Society (PACS) was found to be hand in glove with mill owners. He was on a visit to paddy mandis in Turekela block.
Saluja made a surprise visit to assess ground reality after receiving complaints of illegal price deduction, mismanagement and violation of norms in the paddy mandis. “There is price deduction between Rs 7 to Rs 10 per quintal and even gunny bag rates are being misappropriated,” Saluja stated while interacting with farmers. At Larki PACS, a farmer Dinanandhu Majhi complained that he was paid for 10 kg less per quintal of paddy he sold. He had sold 50 sacks, each containing 50 kg paddy.
Another farmer S Meher echoed similar grievances and said he was paid 6 kg less per quintal. “My sister was also paid less by 9 kg per quintal,” he alleged. There were similar complaints at Mahakhand mandi where farmers like Tularam Meher and Chitrasen Meher claimed that Rs 6 to Rs 10 per quintal was being illegally deducted, in clear violation of prescribed norms.
Due to lack of bargaining power, farmers have continued to face exploitation at the hands of mill owners and PACS managers, said sources. Meanwhile, talking to mediapersons, Civil Supplies Officer Dillip Patra said paddy procurement is being undertaken in 174 centres as per fair average quality (FAQ) basis. If any irregularity is detected, necessary action would be taken, he added.