Sambalpur: Even as irregularities in paddy procurement and delay in opening of mandis has added to the woes of the farmers who are reeling under severe loss due to pest attack and natural disasters, a new trouble has come to haunt them, a report said.
Local farmers have alleged that the mandis have been taken over by middlemen, traders and fake farmers. Many fake farmers had turned up to sell their produce in the mandis. This not only caused trouble to the real farmers but also delayed the procurement process, they alleged.
This has led to resentment among the farmers who demanded an immediate probe into the incident and trace those who were selling paddy without being registered as farmers. The angry farmers also alleged that the ‘fake’ farmers were not from the district but belonged to other places.
As per reports, local farmers had seized several trucks and tractors carrying sacks of paddy in front of Jhankarpali mandi. A scuffle ensued between the local farmers and the outsiders who came here to sell their paddy.
It is alleged that farmers from nearby Jharsuguda and other areas are buying paddy at a low price and selling them at the mandis here at high price to make a quick buck.
However, the ‘farmers’ who had come to sell the paddy claimed that they are genuine farmers who worked hard and due to various issues, they could not sell their produce in their districts and had tried to sell it in Sambalpur.
They claimed that they had met the District Collector who had earlier given the permission for procurement of paddy at the mandis.
“People here are unnecessarily creating trouble. We have taken permission. But, as we do not possess any written permission, the locals have detained the paddy trucks,” alleged a farmer.
Meanwhile, the local farmers wrote a letter to the president of Katarabaga Seva Samabaya Samiti drawing his attention to the matter.
“Even as the mandis were closed from January 12, the officials have opened them again to receive paddy from other farmers,” alleged the local farmers.
Collector Samarth Verma said appropriate steps would be taken after the sub-collector submits a probe report.
“Only after showing genuine land documents, farmers will be registered as members, and only then paddy will be procured from them,” Cooperation Minister Surya Narayan Patro said.