Satellite surveys expose paddy field registration fraud in Odisha's Rayagada district
The surveys exposed massive fraud, with 20,442 plots falsely claimed as paddy cultivated lands.
RAYAGADA: In a startling revelation, satellite surveys have brought to fore irregularities in the registration of paddy fields in Rayagada district.The state government’s initiative to enhance transparency in the paddy procurement process led to mandatory registration for farmers. This year, out of 22,683 registered farmers, a verification process identified 657 fake farmers.
After this, the Agriculture department conducted satellite surveys of the fields that were registered as agricultural. The surveys exposed massive fraud, with 20,442 plots falsely claimed as paddy cultivated lands. Official records indicate the highest number of affected plots under various Large Area Multi-Purpose Societies (LAMPS) across the district. A LAMPS official on condition of anonymity said, the problem was pointed out since long but no action was taken against detected fake farmers.
Exploiting this situation, these fraudulent practices continue, causing significant financial losses to the administration. In response to the satellite survey findings, officials from different LAMPS are conducting on-spot verifications and documenting evidence to be forwarded to the Agriculture department.
Procurement from December 20
Meanwhile, the Rayagada district administration has scheduled paddy procurement for the ongoing kharif crop season, commencing on December 20. The district-level procurement committee, chaired by additional district magistrate Rameswar Pradhan, made this decision for the Kharif Marketing Season 2023-24.
During the committee meeting on Saturday, minister Jagannath Saraka emphasised facilitating farmers during the selling process, while chief district civil supplies officer Umesh Chandra Swain assured that all necessary measures for procurement, as per government guidelines, have been implemented.
However, a farmer representative, A Malikarjuna, alleged that previous procurement faced serious problems due to a lack of infrastructure facilities, and this year those concerns must be addressed. Notably, there has been silence on the discrepancy between the registered farmers and the procurement target which has been causing widespread resentment among the farmers.