JAGATSINGHPUR: An Assembly Standing Committee led by BJD MLA Arabinda Dhali on Wednesday visited several procurement centres in the district and received complaints from farmers on issues pertaining to centralised tokens and delay in lifting of paddy.
The committee’s visit comes amidst allegations of distress sale of paddy by farmers across the district. The members of the panel had conducted a review meeting with officials of the district administration and Civil Supplies department on Tuesday.
Sources said, the district requires at least 40 millers to procure 80,14,925 tonne paddy from 32,000 farmers. However, only 30 millers have been engaged in the procurement process by the district administration and all of them were brought in from Sambalpur and Bargarh districts.
Even as 113 procurement centres have been opened in the district, a majority of farmers are still finding it tough to sell their produce. Besides, several centres do not have godowns and machines to ascertain the quality of paddy. Many farmers alleged they have not yet received any SMS regarding their centralised tokens.
The members of the committee were told that a few millers have allegedly been deducting 5-10 kg paddy from each bag procured from the farmers. The panel also reviewed distribution of essential commodities under Annapurna and Antyodaya schemes in the district.
Later, the committee visited ‘Bayan Gram’ at Jaipur village in Raghunathpur block and interacted with women weavers’ group. The members apprised the panel of problems faced by them in availing financial assistance to procure raw material and machinery and stressed the need for promoting their products online.
Secretary of Handloom Producers Group Mamata Prusty said as many as 442 handloom weavers of the village have benefited from the ‘Bayan Gram’ project. She said the officials concerned must provide financial support to the weavers and allocate space where they can showcase and sell their products.
Each member of the group earns Rs 8,000 per month and if they get proper infrastructure and marketing support, their income can be enhanced to Rs 20,000 to Rs 25,000 per month.