JEYPORE: With barely a few days left for registration for kharif paddy procurement and middlemen allegedly having sway over the process, farmers across Koraput district are a worried lot. The registration process started on July 15 and the last date is August 15. Taking the convenience of farmers into consideration, the district administration had directed 20 Large Area Multipurpose Societies (LAMPS), 23 SHGs and two pani panchayts to do the registration in their respected areas. Over 30,000 farmers cultivate paddy in the district and 40 per cent are small and marginal cultivators.
However, apprehensive of middlemen interference, these farmers prefer selling paddy to outsiders than government procurement agencies. Taking undue advantage of this, middlemen and dalals have become active in different LAMPS across Umuri, Kumuliput, Borrigumma, Kamta, Kumuli, B. Singpur, Kotpad and Kundra areas and registering on behalf of the small farmers by submitting their documents. However, LAMPS staff have denied role in any kind of nexus. They said they have no authority to restrict anyone from registration in the office. “How can we differentiate between middlemen and genuine farmers in our office? We are only concentrating on verification of genuine documents of farmers,” said a LAMPS official in Jeypore.
Farmer leaders too have demanded the district administration to ensure that only genuine farmers be allowed to register. Narendra Pradhan, a farmer leader from Kundra said, “Monitoring of middlemen activities in farmers registration should be done by the administration and only genuine farmers be allowed to register.” Jeypore deputy registrar of co-operative societies Bhabani Prasad said the registration process is being done strictly and documents verified at many levels. “We have clearly directed LAMPS staff not to allow unscrupulous elements to intervene in the registration process ,” he added.