BHUBANESWAR: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Sunday demanded that the Centre should accept the surplus parboiled rice from the State for the next kharif marketing season (KMS) 2021-22.
Non-acceptance of the rice will affect about 10 lakh farmers who are already hit by the Covid pandemic situation.
In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Chief Minister referred to the Centre’s letter of August 31, 2021, which intimated that no surplus parboiled rice will be accepted from Odisha by the Food Corporation of India (FCI) and requested the former’s personal intervention for lifting of the ban order. He also requested the Centre to give reasonable time to the State to align itself with the requirements of the Department of Food and Public Distribution (DFPD).
Stating that Odisha is estimated to procure 52 lakh tonnes of rice during the upcoming 2021-22 KMS, the Chief Minister said that the State’s own requirement of rice under all the schemes is around 24 lakh tonne.
“This goes to indicate that the State will have a surplus of 28 lakh tonne rice of which only 4 lakh tonne will be raw rice,” he said. This leaves the State with a balance of 24 lakh tonne parboiled rice for evacuation by FCI.
“But the latest decision of the DFPD has put a question mark on lifting of the surplus rice from the State,” he stated.
The Chief Minister said non-lifting of the surplus parboiled rice from the State due to restrictions imposed by the DFPD can severely affect the State’s paddy procurement operations.
He said that Odisha is primarily a parboiled rice consuming state and historically, the rice milling industry produces parboiled rice. “The State is therefore not in a position to face the situation arising due to a paradigm shift in surplus rice delivery profile imposed on the State by DFPD,” he added.
Naveen also said that around 14 lakh farmers had sold 77.33 lakh MT of paddy (equivalent to 52.35 MT of rice) to the State government and Minimum Support Price (MSP) dues of around Rs 14,444 crore have been transferred to the bank accounts of the farmers within 24 to 48 hours of the purchase of paddy.
This has not only benefited cultivators but also strengthened the rural economy of the State, especially during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, he said. Besides, the government has made special efforts to extend procurement operations to remote areas of the State, besides putting in place a transparent system in which all processes are leveraged by IT applications, he said.