Farmers in Odisha agitate over delay in procurement of paddy by govt centres

Bhubaneswar: Despite the Odisha farmers drawing the attention of Governor Raghubar Das to their problems, including delay in paddy procurement at the government-run mandis or procurement centres, they continue to battle the same plights.

On Thursday, farmers at Tarabhata mandi at Borigumma in Koraput district on Thursday staged a dharna demanding procurement of their kharif paddy by the state government. The peasants alleged that the government and the supplies department had turned a blind eye to their plight.

“The millers are inordinately delaying to lift their paddy. Not only the delay, the farmers alleged that the millers resort to the infamous practice of ‘katni chatni’ whenever they come to buy their paddy. They procure only 80-90 per cent of their paddy and leave the rest of the paddy incurring loss to the farmers,” alleged the farmers.

‘Katni Chhatni’ is a local colloquial Odia term which implies deduction of a certain quantity of the farm produce by the procurer to make up for possible moisture content in the procured crop.

“I was issued a token on December 15. But my paddy is still lying unsold. Even if the millers come to the mandi to lift paddy, they are leaving 10 per cent paddy citing sub-standard crop. What will we do with that paddy which we bring to the mandi paying transportation charge? Where will we sell it?” asked a farmer.

Another farmer said, “Our mandi here at Tarabhata was opened on December 22. The Supplies department has not brought any analysis machine to test the FAQ of our paddy.”

Sources said that despite the announcement by the department to start the Kharif mandis on December 14, it was actually started just a week back on December 22 after several protests by the farmers.

However, unfortunately, thousands of packets of paddy are still lying in the open at several mandis in the district.

Not only Koraput, reports from other districts said farmers were subjected to long waiting at mandis for lifting of their produce.

On December 25, the Governor interacted with the farmers at a meeting in Parmanpur village in Sambalpur district where the farmers described their problems related to the production and sale of the crops.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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