March 20, 2021 8:13:02 am
The Odisha government has announced that it has started reviewing the procurement procedure of paddy across districts to ensure maximum procurement from all registered farmers. The move comes after allegations of irregularities in the procurement procedure raised by the opposition.
“There has been a bumper harvest but we ensure that paddy from all the registered farmers from the state will be procured by March 31. We have already procured 61.24 lakh metric tonnes of paddy. The total procurement so far is nearly 18 per cent more compared to the procurement in Kharif season last year,” State Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare Minister Ranendra Pratap Swain said on Friday.
“Even if any MLA points out any specific irregularity from their constituencies, efforts will be made to resolve the issues at the earliest. The government has already started reviewing the procurement procedure in each district to resolve all the issues, if any, being faced by the farmers,” Swain added.
On Monday, a delegation of BJP MPs requested Union Food and Civil Supplies Minister Piyush Goyal to ask the Food Corporation of India (FCI) to pick up more rice from Odisha’s warehouses — which are running out of space to store foodgrain procured from farmers of the state.
In their memorandum, the MPs had said, “The movement plan for the month of March 2021 has been reduced substantially. At this pace, the surplus 30 lakh of rice cannot be evacuated by the start of the next kharif marketing season or till the start of the next calendar year, which will greatly hamper the ensuing Rabi procurement and the next Kharif procurement. If, like, previous years, FCI lifts only 17 lakh tonnes of rice, then 13 lakh tonnes of rice will be left with Odisha. Long storage of rice will lead to discolouration and then, even FCI will then not accept it. Loss of 1 lakh tonnes of rice due to deterioration in quality would mean a loss of about Rs 320 crore and the state would lose Rs 4,160 crore this way.”
The next day, on Tuesday, a delegation of BJP MPs led by Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan had met Goyal, requesting him to ask the Odisha government to expedite the process of procuring unsold paddy in the state.
Pradhan later tweeted: “The State Govt. of Odisha is misleading the farmers on issues of paddy procurement and has been conveniently trying to belie its own systematic failure in governance and in providing allied agricultural services to Odisha’s farmers. Despite this years’ better-than-expected harvest of paddy due to a favourable monsoon, farmers in Odisha are suffering due to the State Govt. apathies, administrative inefficiencies and long-standing malpractices.”