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Ananya Padhihary

Scores of distressed farmers took to the streets near Ranamal Chawk along Moter main road in Kalahandi district on Wednesday and staged a road blockade alleging delay in procurement of paddy and unfair trade practice by rice millers. 

The farmers who gathered on the Ranamal Square blocked the road by setting up fire since 6 am today, demanding the administration to make all necessary arrangements for procurement of their produce which are lying under open sky near the Mandis for over weeks.

According to reports, farmers have been bringing their Kharif paddy to the procurement centres over months. However, the rice millers are purportedly asking a large quantity of produce towards 'Katni-Chatni' for the crops, causing an inordinate delay in the procurement process. As a result, the crops are exposed near the mandis, posing a risk of spoilage and theft.

Farmers, on the other hand, are staying out near the mandi in the extreme cold weather both day and night to guard their crops.

During the stir, alleging that due to the dilly dallying of the rice millers the crop procurement has been delayed, a distressed farmer asked “When will we be able to repay the loans and begin farming for the next season if the process is delayed like this?”

He further added, “Our demand is that the rice millers send vehicles to lift our harvests out of the Mandi as quickly as possible and they accept the current quantity of 5 kg towards ‘katni-chatni’ rather asking for 6kg or more.”

Blaming lackadaisical attitude of administration authorities for the delay, he further added, “We've been staying here for days to take care of our crops during this cold spell. Many of us are becoming ill as a result of it. If this attitude of administration continues we won’t be able to sell crops this year.”

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