Bhubaneswar: Speaker S N Patro Wednesday directed Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare Minister Ranendra Pratap Swain to convene a meeting of the district officials and MLAs to resolve the problems of paddy procurement.
The Speaker gave the direction after members cutting across party lines, expressed serious concern during the Question Hour and Zero Hour about the problems faced by the farmers in selling their paddy due to the introduction of token system for paddy procurement.
The members alleged that huge quantity paddy was lying in mandis and it is not being lifted. In the name of FAQ, the paddy procuring agencies were deducting 5 to 6 kg of paddy for each quintal, they said.
Congress Legislature Party leader Narasingha Mishra said the paddy is being deducted even though there is no machine to test quality of FAQ paddy and the farmers were forced to sell their paddy in distress.
Raising the issue during Zero Hour, Bhupinder Singh (BJD) said all farmers have not been issued token and only 40 quintals of paddy were procured from the farmers who were issued token.
He further said a farmer is not given a token after the sale of 40 quintals of paddy.
Singh also alleged that procurement of paddy is not being made till the millers and their agents reached the mandi.
Jay Narayan Mishra (BJP) suggested a meeting of the MLAs and the district Collector be convened in each paddy procuring district to sort out the problems.
Kishore Mohanty (BJD) said the farmers were facing problems as the paddy procuring agencies were not procuring paddy from farmers of non-revenue villages.
Leader of Opposition Pradipta Kumar Naik said, “The government should take steps to buy all the surplus paddy from the farmers.”
Earlier, the issue was raised by Mukesh Mahalinga, (BJP), Nrusingha Sahu and Prasant Kumar Jagdev (BJD) during the Question Hour.
The members said the procurement season will be over within a month but huge quantity of paddy is yet to be procured. The government, they said, should take steps to procure paddy from the farmers.
The minister, in his reply, said more paddy was procured this time due to the introduction of token system.
He said till February 13, 43.39 lakh tonne of paddy was purchased from registered farmers against the target of 50 lakh tonne during the Kharif season 2019-20.
Since one more month is there, the government would initiate steps to buy the paddy from the farmers, he assured the House and said “the token system was introduced to keep the agents away and buy paddy directly from the farmers.”
The minister denied distress sale of paddy as alleged by the members and promised to take action against the officials if they were found not purchasing paddy from the registered farmers.
Saluja hurls corruption charge
Bhubaneswar: Members of the Congress party Wednesday raked up the issue of corruption and flouting of prescribed guidelines in the paddy procurement process in the state during the Question Hour of the Assembly.
Kantabanji MLA Santosh Singh Saluja (Congress) told the House that rice mill operators are rampantly flouting norms in paddy procurement process. He also alleged that wrongdoings in the process are undertaken with the patronage of top officials of the state government.
“I can name the top officials involved in this corrupt practices and the aggrieved farmers. The guidelines claim that the millers can get access to the paddy only after procurement but they have intruded into the process since the beginning while the farmers are distressed,” Saluja told the House.
The leader also accused that the mill owners of bribing government officials to manipulate the data of farmers and reject a portion of their produce to ensure their interference in the process. He also asked would the 5T department come into picture in this corrupt practice existing in the state.
Reacting to the allegation, FS&CW Minister Ranendra Pratap Swain said no such reported practice would be allowed. “We will not tolerate any corrupt practice. We are strictly against any such non-sense behaviour.”