HYDERABAD: A chaotic situation is being witnessed near rice mills concentrated around Miryalaguda in Nalgonda district. Due to an increase in Kharif paddy production, a large number of tractors are flocking to the rice mills all at once, though the mills are not yet operational in their full capacity. The resultant delay in accepting paddy by the mills has sparked protests by farmers in parts of Nalgonda and Suryapet.
Farmers cultivating fine grain variety of paddy under the ayacut of Nagarjunasagar Project canal bring their produce to Miryalaguda, where most of the rice mills are located.“Due to more sunny days this Kharif season, paddy crop was ready for harvest 10-15 days early and the production is better this year. Farmers are harvesting their crops all at once, which has been leading to formation of long queues at rice mills in Miryalaguda,” said P Nagamani, AD, Agriculture, Miryalaguda division.
Not even 50 per cent of rice mills are currently functioning in Miryalaguda, which has over 100 mills. Ram Reddy, a farmer from Vemulapalli mandal, said only 20-25 mills were operational in full capacity, whereas 10-15 mills were not accepting paddy because their godowns had been fully stocked with yet-to-be-milled paddy from last Rabi.
To control the flow of tractors coming to the mills, Nalgonda district administration has tried to impose restrictions on the operation of harvesting machines on Friday and Sunday every week. Steps were also taken to prevent tractors from entering Nalgonda from Suryapet near Chillepalli-Musi bridge.
However, farmers have been growing restless and worried, as an unexpected spell of rain would spoil their entire crop. They have been protesting in Vamulapalli and Suryapet mandals and also laid siege to Addanki-Narketpalli road on Wednesday, bringing traffic to a halt.
Farmers have also been complaining that they were not getting the right price at the mills. “The mills are offering only Rs 1,700 to Rs 1,800 per quintal. In the wholesale market, HMT rice is selling for Rs 4,200-4,500 and Chintu is selling at Rs 5,000 per quintal,” Reddy said.
Agricultural officials maintain that farmers have a clear understanding with millers on the rates as, unlike procurement by FCI, where they are required to keep the moisture content under 17 per cent, here they can bring paddy even if it has 20-25 per cent moisture, asserts Nagamani, saying Rs 1,750 to Rs 1,850 per quintal offered at Miryalaguda is better than rates in other districts.