Kendrapara, Dec 12 (LocalWire) Fate of large number of farmers is now at stake at the start of harvesting season, as the authorities have recently decided to procure only five lakh quintal of paddy from them.
Farmers of Rajnagar, Rajkanika, Mahakalapada and Aul have already started harvesting paddy on their land, whereas the farmers of Pattamundai, Derabishi, Garadapur and Marsaghai will harvest the crops within two weeks, said Bijaya Das, a farmers’ leader of Pattamundai.
“Odisha State Civil Supply Corporation (OSCSP) recently decided to procure five lakh quintal of paddy in the first phase from the farmers in the district in this harvesting season,” Civil Supply Officer (CSO) Rajanikanta Das on Wednesday.
“Later, we will also decide to procure more paddy from the farmers. We also entrusted 116 Primary Agriculture Cooperative Societies (PACSs) to procure paddy from the farmers from Dec 17,” said Das.
“After purchasing paddy from the farmers, the PACSs will hand over the crops to 14 rice mills in the district. The millers will provide 3,45,000 quintal of rice to us,” he said.
“Four years back, we blacklisted two rice mills of the district for not abiding by the rules and norms of the OSCSP. The authority has fixed Rs 1750 as the price of a quintal of FAQ (Fair Average Quality ) paddy,” he added.
Meanwhile, farmers alleged that after harvesting paddy, they are being compelled to sell away their stocked paddy to meet their daily expenses at throwaway prices, and that mill owners, in a clear nexus with government officials and agents, have been purchasing paddy from the hapless farmers at lower price.
“But the authority is not taking any step to check the distress sale,” said Gayadhar Dhal, secretary of district unit of Krusaka Sabha.
In Kendrapada district, farmers are all set to harvest about 17 lakh quintal of paddy this year.
“Large numbers of farmers will not get any chance to sell their paddy to the OSCSC through rice mills and Primary Agriculture Cooperative Societies,” alleged Umesh Chandra Singh, president of the district unit of Krusak Sabha.
Some mill owners and paddy businessmen have started purchasing paddy at around Rs 1400 per quintal from the hapless farmers, which is Rs 350 below the maximum retail price fixed by the government, said Singh.
“Some milers and rice businessmen are camping in the villages to purchase paddy from hapless farmers by paying them less money fixed by the authorities,” said Pattamundai farmer Biswajit Behera.