Odisha will ask Centre to relax paddy procurement norm

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Berhampur: Odisha government will write to the Centre urging it to relax the norms of paddy procurement from the state by accepting discoloured paddy, particularly from the districts affected by cyclone Phailin and subsequent floods.
 
"We have asked the district collectors to submit reports on the yield of damaged and discoloured paddy and then we will write to the Centre urging it to relax the norms of paddy procurement," Odisha's Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare Minister Pratap Keshari Deb said here.
 
Though the exact quantity of damaged and discoloured paddy produced in the state would be known only after crop cutting, the minister said the volume of such paddy would be huge as 40 per cent area of the state was ravaged by the cyclone and flood.
 
Ganjam, known as one of the rice-bowl districts, was the worst affected in last month's natural calamities.
 
The Minister was here to attend the district collectors' conference on paddy procurement for the kharif market season (KMS).
 
"We have discussed thoroughly about the procurement of discoloured paddy at the meeting and asked the collectors to submit the report of expected yield of low grade paddy in their districts," Deo said after the meeting.
 
Since the southern Odisha districts bore the brunt of the natural devastation, the government has not fixed paddy procurement target for these districts. "We have also not fixed the procurement time. The district administration will begin to procure as per their convenience," the Minister said.
 
Despite the huge crop loss due to the cyclonic storm, heavy rains and subsequent floods in at least 18 of the 30 districts of Odisha in October, the government is confident of achieving procurement target of paddy this year.
 
The government has fixed the target of procuring 30 lakh tonnes (LT) paddy this year. The target was fixed before the cyclone battered the state and on the basis of last year's production.
 
Last year the state had procured 36.68 LT against a target of 29 LT. "We hope to achieve the target this year in view of bumper crops in the districts in the western part of the state," Deb added.

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