Sajangad: Farmers have reportedly been resorting to distress sale of paddy in Nilagiri area of Balasore district amid allegations that procurement officials, traders and millers have formed an unholy nexus to harass them in various ways. Underweighting of paddy is one of the major issues of the farmers.
This situation has provided an opportune time for traders from Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh to buy paddy at throwaway prices and rake in the moolah. Paddy from the area is being supplied to the two neighbouring states.
Traders from Andhra Pradesh have already camped in some areas of Bhadrak and are purchasing paddy from desperate farmers. With dates of paddy procurement yet to be finalised, farmers accused the civil supplies officials and the millers of delaying the process.
This year, farmers of 15 panchayats have been asked to sell paddy at Nilagiri LAMPS while five procurement centres were opened at Mitrapur, Sajanagad, Ajodhya, Siadimal and Kansha.
Similarly, Matiala LAMPS has been assigned to procure paddy from farmers of 10 panchayats like Berhampur, Matiala and Chhatrapur.
In the first phase, Nilagir LAMPS has procured 11,745 quintals of paddy. The government has fixed the MSP at Rs 1750 per quintal of paddy, but AP traders are buying the grain at far lower prices, it was alleged.
Thousands of farmers are not waiting for their turn to sell paddy due to some riders. Rather they prefer to sell their produce to traders of the neighbouring states.
While the time has come to start the second phase of procurement, the target for the first phase has not been fulfilled.
Assistant registrar of cooperative societies Santosh Mohanty said paddy procurement goes on as per norms. Paddy keeps on piling at some centres as millers fail to provide vehicles for transportation, he added.