Mrunal Manmay Dash

After devastation wreaked by the Cyclonic storm Jawad, mandi mismanagement in many districts of Odisha has provided ample opportunity for dalals to rob the farmers of their money hard-earned from harvested crops.

Farmers in Aska area of Ganjam district are at such a crossroad whether to wait for the government to open the mandis or to think about selling their crops to the brokers.

It is worth mentioning here that many farmers of the area had to go for panic harvesting in fear of cyclone Jawad. However, the uncertainty over the opening of mandis in the district has now pushed them to resort to extreme measures.

Baya Sethi, a farmer in Aska said, “I do not have a place to store the harvested paddy. Without the mandis, I am forced to stock it on roadside.”

The district of Bargarh also sports a similar picture. Though, the mandis have been opened since November 25, mismanagement and delay in procurement has left the farmers in anguish.

A farmer waiting for his paddy to be lifted at the Manapada mandi in Bargarh rues, “I do not know when my paddy will be lifted. There is absolutely no communication from the authorities. I am forced to guard my produce in the open in this bone chilling cold.”

Similarly, a farmer at Galguma mandi in Kalahandi alleged, “Millers are playing with us. They never lift all our produce. We are left here to suffer guarding our paddy in the open.”

However, amid allegations of widespread mismanagement, there are some blocks where the procurement process has been kicked off recently.

Mandis have been opened in four blocks Bisra, Nuagaon, Lathikata and Kuanrmunda of Sundargarh district from Monday. Almost 2.5 lakh quintal paddy will be procured from the farmers in these mandis till March next year.

Speaking about the procurement, Sub-Collector of Panposh, Daulat Chandrakar said, “Tokens have already been issued to the farmers. The farmers would need to take their produce to their respective LAMPS, so that it can be procured. The money will be paid to their accounts within 48 hours.”