The standing committee of Odisha Legislative Assembly expressed its concern over paddy procurement centres facing infrastructure shortcomings.
The report of the Standing Committee clearly states that 2,581 Primary Agriculture Cooperative Society (PACS) procure paddy through 3,365 paddy procurement centres (PPC). Out of these 3,365 PPCs, only 2,404 have their own land. The rest PPCs are facing a lot of difficulties with some using RMC market yards, some using government land while the rest using private lands. As many as 409 PACSes are devoid of permanent secretaries. There are hundreds of such PPCs which don’t have internet connection, drinking water facility and sitting arrangements.
Expressing its concern, the Committee said the PPCs having no own godowns shouldn’t have been opened.
“I am still to understand why the government is not improving the infrastructure of the paddy procurement centres. There is no dearth of money, yet nothing has been done to improve the infrastructure,” alleged Jaynarayan Mishra, BJP MLA.
Echoing the same, senior Congress leader Narasingha Mishra said, “There are many PPCs that don’t have godown, sitting and drinking water facilities. The irony is that, the government is yet to install CCTV cameras as advised by the standing committee of Odisha Legislative Assembly. If installed, the shortcomings would have been identified. In Kalahandi district, paddy is grown more than the crop in Bolangir district. But the number of PPCs in Bolangir district are more than that in Kalahandi district.
Defending the government, Umakanta Samantray, BJD MLA, said the volume of paddy procurement has been increasing every year. There are hardly a few PPCs devoid of some facilities and the government is taking steps to provide them with all sorts of infrastructural needs.
Meanwhile, paddy procurement has already started in Bargarh and Kalahandi districts. But not all the PPCs are open due to which farmers have started staging protests. Since no PPC in Bhejiguda and Arebeda panchayats under Jayapatna block in Klahandi district was opened this year, farmers in those areas created a ruckus over the issue. They demanded PPCs be opened in all the Panchayats. Similarly, in Bargarh, the farmers have demanded their paddy be procured without ‘katni chhatni’ failing which they will resort to agitation.
The farmers in Sambalpur district are also not happy. They recently gheraoed DRCS over token problem.
“The decision of not opening PPC in Arebeda Panchayat has caused us lot of difficulties. We have already brought our produces to the PPC. What will we do,” asked Jayant Kumar Panda, a worried farmer of Arebeda panchayat.
“The farmers have not yet received tokens. The tokens are available only in Bareipali market. So we gheraoed the DRCS in his office,” said Pradeep Patra, a Sambalpur farmer.
A Bargarh farmer, Rabindra Bisi warned, “The farmers will resort to strike if there is ‘katni chhatni’ this year too.”