BHUBANESWAR: The Assembly standing committee on Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare and Cooperation on Monday recommended three proposals to the State government including seven years jail term for those procuring paddy from farmers below the Minimum Support Price (MSP).
A meeting of the department-related standing committee-VI chaired by senior Congress leader Narasingha Mishra expressed serious concern over non-lifting of surplus paddy from farmers by government procurement agencies which has forced them to resort to distress sale.
The House committee submitted a proposal to the State government to make necessary amendments in the existing rules to provide seven years jail term and fine for those procuring paddy below the MSP. “With farmers harvesting bumper paddy due to improved seed replacement rate and use of modern methodology, the paddy procurement target set by the State government is not commensurate with the yield per acre,” Mishra said.
Even as the food procurement policy of the government said that there will be no restriction on procurement of any higher quantum of paddy coming to the mandi from registered farmers, the per acre production rate fixed in the policy prevents farmers from selling their surplus paddy under price support system.
As per the procurement policy for the 2020 kharif marketing season, the government agencies will purchase 19 quintal per acre in irrigated area and 12 quintal from non-irrigated land. “This defeats the whole price support system. On an average, paddy yield per acre is about 40 quintals in irrigated areas and about 30 quintals in non-irrigated areas using the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) method”, he said.
As farmers registered under the paddy procurement automation system (P-PAS) for selling their surplus paddy to agencies under the price support system are unable to dispose of their stock due to such restriction, the Assembly committee has recommended the government to issue instructions to the agencies for procurement of the entire produce of the farmers if they desired to sell. The committee also proposed installation of CCTV cameras at all the mandis to bring transparency in the procurement process.
The committee recorded its protest against the three farm Bills passed by the Centre as they are not for the development and prosperity of farmers, Mishra said.