Korukunda/Pandripani: Hundreds of farmers of Korukunda and Pandripani in Malkangiri district staged a road blockade Friday, alleging mismanagement in procurement of paddy at mandis.
The farmers said they have kept their paddy at seven paddy procurement centres in Korukunda block, but no miller had purchased paddy from them after December 21.
Protesting against the mismanagement at paddy mandis, the farmers blocked the road by placing paddy bags on it, and shouted slogans against the local administration.
Korukunda Large Area Multi-Purpose Cooperative Societies (LAMPS) MD Kalu Charan Pradhan, the Malkangiri CSO, Chitakonda SDPO Manas Ranjan Barik and Malkangiri IIC Soumendra Tripathy reached the spot and held talks with the farmers.
Traffic movement was restored after the officials assured the farmers that their paddy would be purchased within three days.
Similarly, a group of farmers led by Serapali Sarpanch Dasharath Dukura staged a road blockade at Pandripani raising the same demand.
They said that no one is buying their paddy at the mandis in Serapali and Gangala Ram panchayats for 15 days. They also said that paddy procurement centres were not opened Thursday, and that farmers who had come from far-off places were forced to stay and guard their paddy at mandis in the chilly winter.
The farmers said they are being forced to sell paddy at low prices as fog damaged it. The administration has permitted Mahavir Rice Mill and Sabat Rice Mill to buy paddy from mandis, the famers said.
Local officials reached the spot, held talks with the angry farmers and the road blockade was lifted.
Hundreds of farmers of Jharapalli and Pedakonda panchayats in the district too blocked the road at Sindrimal on the Malkangiri-Jeypore highway December 30 alleging mismanagement in the procurement of paddy at mandis.
Thousands of quintals of paddy are lying at the mandis controlled by LAMPS at the district headquarters for two weeks. However, due to the negligence of the administration and the unholy nexus between middlemen and government officials, paddy is not getting sold in time.
The farmers said they were told by LAMPS authorities that they would be given tokens for selling paddy, and believing that they had transported their produce to the mandis, but were not given the tokens.
Some farmers said that LAMPS authorities were also not providing gunny bags to pack their paddy. They were also not giving receipts to the farmers after buying their paddy at the time of purchase and are deducting five to 10 kg of paddy per quintal, saying that the grains are damaged.