The concrete paddy drying yard scheme has come a cropper in Kendrapara district. The pictures of the yards either being encroached upon or used for storing construction materials while harvested crops lying in piles in farmyards speak volumes about the failure of the scheme in the district.
Under the scheme, concrete paddy drying yards have been constructed in villages across Kendrapara district. Initially, the farmers were delighted thinking they would no longer face problems in conserving and drying their harvested paddy. But that did not happen. These yards are now being used for storing construction materials, leaving the farmers at their wit’s end.
“The yards are under encroachment. They are now being used for other purposes like drying cow dung cakes and storing construction materials. The farmers are hardly getting any advantages from these yards,” alleged Ananta Lenka.
Echoing the same plight, another farmer Baikuntha Mallick alleged, “The yards are not being used as playgrounds. The other reason why the project has failed is the location of these yards. They are constructed at one end of the village. So the farmers of the other end find it difficult to take their paddy to the yards.”
Investigation reveals there are a total of 106 concrete paddy drying yards across the Kendrapara district. Of them, 78 yards are in Derabish Regulated Market Committee and Pattamundai. And the rest 28 yards are in agriculture department district.
The area of each yard is 2.5 ‘guntha’ and each has been constructed at a cost of Rs 7 to 9 lakh. Spending crores of rupees, these 106 yards were constructed to lessen the worries of farmers. But the influential persons of the localities are allegedly using them at their will, leaving the farmers to fend for themselves.
The fumed farmers demanded that the department concerned take steps to get the yards freed from encroachment.
When contacted, district chief agriculture officer Siba Prasad Mallick said, “The yards are not constructed for storing construction materials and drying cow dung cakes. The farmers should oppose those who are using the yards for other than agriculture purposes.”
In this regard, secretary of Regulated Market Committee Ajay Rout said they were not aware of the fact. “If it comes to our notice that yards are being used for non-agriculture purposes, we will inform the same to the administration and the yards will be vacated in presence of police force,” said Rout.
It is to be seen what steps the district administration is taking to get the yards freed from encroachment.