Rashmi Rekha Das

Be it western Odisha or the eastern parts of the state, 'katni-chhatni' system in paddy procurement is taking a toll on the farmers across the state.

Farmers reportedly grow paddy to earn some profit during paddy procurement, but ironically they fail to recover their invested capital. Farmers alleged that 'katni chhatni' system has broken their backbone. Besides, irregularities in opening paddy procurement centres have added to their woes. 

Upset over the 'katni-chhatni' system (involuntary reduction of weight per quintal), aggrieved farmers across the state have taken to the streets. Farmers were seen spilling paddy on the roads and placing packets of paddy on the road to protest against these irregularities & lapses. 

Take the case of Balasore farmers. Under the banner of Naba Nirman Krushak Sangathan, they recently staged a protest against distress sale. The outfit members took out a rally and submitted a memorandum to the district administration seeking solutions to their problems.

On the other hand, as many as 20,000 packets of paddy are now lying unattended at a yard in Subarnapur and farmers have blamed the Primary Agricultural Credit Societies (PACS) for it. This prompted Subarnapur farmers to block the Biramaharajpur-Amarapalli Road for hours.

It is learnt that the centralised token system was introduced in Odisha to ease the process of paddy procurement but it seems that it is not benefiting the farmers. 

“If we fail to sell our produce in two days, our tokens will lapse”, rued a farmer from Nuapada district.

Same is the case with farmers in Kandhamal district.

Distraught over distress sale and 'katni chhatni' practice in paddy procurement, a Bolangir-based farmer recently wrote a letter to the district administration seeking permission to cultivate hemp.

That’s not all. Reports of farmers allegedly committing suicide due to distress sale have surfaced in some parts of the state. 

“We were given token to sell paddy 15 days back. Yet our paddy is yet to be procured at the mandi”, alleged a protesting farmer.

Another farmer, Manoj Khamari said “Farmers are in distress. Resentment is brewing among them over 'katni chhatni' system. If the government fails to address their issues, farmers will intensify protests.”

On the other hand, Secretary of Duajhar PACS, Prajesh Kumar Hans, said “Katni Chhatni system is being implemented after mutual understanding between the administration and farmers.”