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Vikash Sharma

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Sunday wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking his intervention for issuing a direction to DFPD (Department of Food and Public Distribution) to lift the surplus parboiled rice from the State for the next Kharif Marketing Season (KMS) 2021-22.

In his letter, Patnaik wrote that Odisha became a Decentralised Procurement (DCP) state in 2003-04 Kharif Marketing Season (KMS) and since the State has been undertaking MSP operations for procurement of paddy in decentralised mode.

“Odisha is primarily a parboiled rice consuming State and, historically, therefore, Odisha’s rice milling industry overwhelmingly produces parboiled rice. The State is therefore not in a position to face the situation arising due to a paradigm shift in surplus rice delivery profile imposed on the State by DFPD,” the letter read.

The Chief Minister in his letter further stated that, “Non- lifting of the above quantity of surplus parboiled rice from the State due to the restrictions imposed by DFPD has the potential of severely affecting the State’s paddy procurement operations. This will affect about 10 lakh farmers and put them in serious trouble especially during this Covid pandemic situation.

It is pertinent to mention here that the Government of India in a letter dated 31.8.2021 have intimated that for the next KMS no surplus parboiled rice shall be accepted from Odisha by the Food Corporation of India (FCI). In the upcoming KMS 2021-22, Odisha is estimated to procure 52 lakh MT of rice.

“The State’s own requirement of rice under all the schemes is about 24 lakh MT. This goes to indicate that the State will have a surplus of 28 lakh MT of rice out of which only 4 lakh MT will be raw rice. That leaves the State with a balance of 24 lakh MT of parboiled rice for evacuation by FCI. But the latest decision of DFPD has put a question mark on lifting of the said surplus rice from the State,” Naveen’s letter read.

During the KMS 2020-21, around 14 lakh farmers have sold 77.33 lakh MT of paddy (equivalent to 52.35 MT of rice) to the State Government and MSP dues of about Rs. 14,444 crores have been transferred to the bank accounts of the farmers within 24 to 48 hours of purchase of paddy. This has not only benefited the farmers but also strengthened the rural economy of the State, especially during the ongoing Covid – 19 pandemic, the letter added.

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