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Pradeep Pattanayak

Minerva Rice Mill near Bairasar in Bolangir district, which was earlier slapped show cause notice for flouting rice procurement norms, has once again landed in the soup over similar reasons.

As per the rule, millers can not procure paddy directly from farmers. They, instead, procure it from the mandis or paddy procurement centres. 

However, in Bolangir district, this rule has allegedly been flouted with impunity. The Minerva Rice Mill is a case in point. It has allegedly been procuring rice directly from the farmers. A video clip, which has been accessed by OTV, shows how tractors loaded with paddy packets are entering the mill in the night. 

When asked about the paddy cargo, Ghanashyam Duari, a security guard of the mill, who was present at the mill at that particular moment, spilled the beans. He said the farmers had brought the paddy packets.  
As if procuring paddy directly from farmers was not enough, the miller is allegedly getting the procurement entered in Mandi register. By doing so, the miller is earning huge financial benefits causing a corresponding loss to the government exchequer, it is alleged. 

When contacted, Bairasar PACS secretary Ghanashyam Padhan admitted that the mill owner had asked him if he could enter the paddy packets arrived at the mill in four vehicles in the mandi register. “I refused to do so, telling him that I was not at the mandi and had already returned home,” Padhan said. 

When the video clip was shown to district civil supplies officer Mir Riaz Ali, he said, “A miller must always procure paddy from a mandi. In this case, an investigation will be conducted by an officer. If his report confirms violation of existing rule, appropriate action will be taken against the mill owner.”

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