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Odishatv Bureau

Bhubaneswar: Odisha government now seems to be in a fix as nearly 10 lakh farmers in Odisha, who had availed crop loans through cooperative societies last year, are now untraceable.

Official sources said, as many as 19 lakh farmers had availed agricultural loans in the last Kharif season. Though 9 lakh had sold their paddy to the government, remaining 10 lakh farmers have not participated in the paddy procurement process, said Cooperation Minister Surya Narayan Patro.

According to government data, nearly 9.77 lakh farmers, who registered during the last Kharif season, had sold paddy through registered societies.

In a bid to curb misuse of loans, the government has now instructed officials to convert crop loans of 10 lakh beneficiaries who have not participated in the paddy procurement process into commercial ones and collect interest of 12 percent instead of 1 percent.

However, the move has not gone down well with several farmers’ organizations which have been demanding loan waiver. With the fresh government directive, such outfits have threatened to launch agitation.

“The decision to convert and treat the loans as commercial will be opposed sternly,” said convener of Navnirman Krushak Sangathan, Akshay Kumar.

On the other hand, the decision of the Cooperation department is also likely to affect the ongoing registration drive for the paddy procurement program as so far only 5.32 lakh farmers have registered by September 13 as against 6.10 lakh farmers who registered during the same time last year.

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