BHUBANESWAR: With less than two months left for the purchase of paddy under price support system in the current Kharif marketing season, the State Government has procured over 39.5 lakh tonne of the food grain from farmers till February 3. The paddy procurement in the State during the corresponding period last year was 39.45 lakh quintal. The State has set a target to procure 41 lakh tonne of rice equivalent to 61.96 lakh tonne of paddy (50 lakh tonne Kharif and 10 lakh tonne rabi) in 2019-20.
“The paddy procured so far is 79 per cent of the Kharif target. There is every possibility that we may cross the target,” said a senior officer of Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare department. After initial protests by farmers to the online token system, paddy procurement is going on smoothly without any complaint. The Government has already issued over 9.54 lakh tokens online and purchased paddy 39.5 lakh tonne from 6,80,101 farmers. Around Rs 6,553.71 crore have been sent to the accounts of the farmers, the sources said.
Bargarh district, considered the rice bowl of the State, tops the list with procurement of 6.21 lakh tonne followed by 4.23 lakh tonne from Kalahandi, 3.9 lakh tonne from Subarnapur, 2.9 lakh tonne from Sambalpur, 2.75 lakh tonne from Balangir and 2.37 lakh tonne from Ganjam district.
Asserting that paddy procurement is done in most transparent manner under paddy procurement automation system (P-PAS), Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare Minister Ranendra Pratap Swain said 3,542 paddy procurement centres have been opened across the State. About 12.35 lakh farmers have registered their names for sale of surplus paddy under MSP system. The Minister is personally monitoring the procurement and taking feedback directly from farmers.