Sambalpur: Rice farmers of Sambalpur district have alleged that millers and middlemen were making a fast buck by taking advantage of their ignorance and lack of infrastructure of women SHGs.
The Odisha government had advised the farmers to avoid selling paddy directly to rice millers, and join hands with the SHGs to abolish middlemen in the procurement process.
However, a totally different picture has emerged in Jujumara block. Mill owners and middlemen have joined hands to sideline the SHGs. Due to the unholy nexus farmers are not getting their dues after submitting their paddy.
According to a report, Kayakuda SHG group had bought paddy from two farmers – Sanjaya Biswal and Biswamirea Biswal of Jujumara block. However the SHG had sent a truck-load of paddy to two different mills – Maa Metkani rice mill at Jhankarpalli and Maa Naryani Rice Mill at Goshala – without transit pass and online registration of mills, farmers and the truck. The farmers alleged that the irregularity has happened because of the nexus between the millers and supply department.
As per the official norms, be it SHGs or Co-operative Societies, they should allow the vehicles to go to mills after providing them transit pass (TP) online after obtaining all details about the farmers, drivers, their mobile numbers and registration number of the vehicles. One vehicle is allowed to provide paddy to one mill only.
After receiving paddy the millers should submit a report, confirming that they have received paddy.
Farmers get money transferred to their bank accounts through DBT when the data is uploaded on the official portal.
The aforesaid incident has raised questions about the efficiency of supply department in monitoring the paddy procurement process from SHGs to various mills.
Aggrieved farmers have alleged that they have smelt something fishy in the entire process of paddy procurement.
Suspicions have been expressed also over the functioning of SHGs and co-operative societies in the district. Locals complained that middlemen and millers are taking undue advantage of the lack of experience of the SHGs and tampering with the paddy procurement process.
When contacted, Deputy Registrar of Cooperative Society (DRCS) Lingaraj Nayak said this should not have happened. “We will inspect the matter. But the Supply Department and District Social Welfare Department (DSW) can only take action against SHGs” Nayak added.
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