Balasore: As the administration has allegedly delayed opening mandis for paddy procurement, farmers in Sadar and Basta blocks in Balasore have resorted to distress sale. As a result, traders have been taking advantage of the situation.
Farmers alleged that there has been no coordination among millers, officials of the civil supplies department and cooperative societies, which led to their exploitation.
Traders and middlemen buy paddy for Rs 1,150 to 1,200 per quintal from farmers when they are supposed to get Rs 1,815 as MSP.
Unseasonal rains and cyclone Bulbul damaged paddy to some extent in Balasore. Farmers have harvested whatever paddy was left intact. Now, distress sale has added to their woes, they lamented.
Thousands of farmers have been waiting for opening of mandis at Kasipada, Haladipada, Chhanua, Srirampur, Kasaphala, Sartha, Nagram cooperative societies under Sadar block; Routpada, Mathani and Paunsakuli under Basta block.
“Mandis have not yet opened. We have no idea when the mandis will open. We are now desperate to sell off the paddy so as to make payments of farmhand wages, loans and daily household expenses,” farmers pointed out.
In such a situation, they are resorting to distress sell of paddy. They sell their paddy to middlemen at prices much less that the MSP.
Tapan Kumar Pradhan, a farmer of Rasalpur, said every year the government delays procurement. Delay forces them to sell their produce at throwaway prices, he added.
Jayant Dey, a farmer of Gadapadar, said that the government has failed to understand the plight of farmers when they are bound to face distress sale of paddy.
Shrustidhar Rout, secretary of Routpada Cooperative Society, said the names of farmers have been registered for procurement, but official order has not been issued for procurement till date. After engagement of millers, procurement will start, he added.