Odisha government to set up ATMs for providing rice to NFS beneficiaries

Transformation of the public distribution system and paddy procurement, grain ATM and smart mobile storage units were some of the projects to be taken up under the agreement.
Representative image
Representative image

BHUBANESWAR: The BJP government on Thursday announced to set up rice ATMs across the state to provide the foodgrain to beneficiaries under the national food security programme.

The first rice ATM will come up in the capital city within a week, Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare minister Krushna Chandra Patra told mediapersons after taking charge of the department.

“The rice ATM will be first set up in Bhubaneswar within a week. The PDS beneficiaries will be provided with a card. The beneficiaries will receive their monthly quota of rice on insertion of the card in the ATM. This facility will be extended to all districts of the state in a phased manner,” said the minister.

The BJD government had taken up an initiative in 2022 to introduce grain ATMs on pilot basis in urban areas of the state but the project could not take off. The grain ATM was part of several partnership agreements signed with the World Food Programme (WFP) in 2021. Transformation of the public distribution system and paddy procurement, grain ATM and smart mobile storage units were some of the projects to be taken up under the agreement.

Patra further said the state government will procure kharif paddy from the farmers at Rs 3,100 per quintal as against the minimum support price of Rs 2,300 per quintal announced by the Centre on Wednesday. “After the central government revised the paddy MSP to Rs 2,300 it will help the state government as the additional cost of Rs 917 per quintal has come down to Rs 800 per quintal,” he said. 

As promised in the poll manifesto, the state government will purchase paddy from the farmers at Rs 3,100 per quintal and the cost of the paddy will be directly sent to the farmers accounts within 48 hours, he said.

Assuring that farmers will no more face ‘katni chhatni’ during paddy procurement, Patra said strong action will be taken against rice millers and PACS officials involved in any kind of malpractice if farmers file complaints. “Licenses of registered rice millers will be cancelled without delay,” he warned.

Claiming that over 50 lakh ghost ration cards are in circulation, the minister said steps have been taken to remove bogus beneficiaries from the list and eligible persons will be added into the list. Necessary instructions have been issued officials concerned, he added.

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