Odishatv Bureau

New Delhi/Bhubaneswar: The Centre today decided to relax Fair Average Quality (FAQ) norms for procurement of paddy under Minimum Support Price (MSP) mechanism in 15 districts of Odisha which have been affected by unseasonal rain.

In reply to a letter from Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, Union Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Ram Vilas Paswan wrote " I would like to inform you that the department has decided to give relaxation in the FAQ norms for the purpose of procurement of paddy in 15 districts of Odisha to facilitate farmers affected by unexpected unseasonal rains".

He further stated that the Centre is committed to the welfare of farmers. Any proposal regarding the interest of the farming community will be given top priority, Paswan mentioned.

Sources said Pradhan had discussed with the Union Food Minister several times in the past over relaxation of FAQ norms. He had also shot a letter to Paswan last month, requesting relaxation in the quality norms for paddy procurement in Odisha.

On the other hand, Odisha government feigned ignorance about Centre's decision. "The Union Minister, Ram Vilas Paswan, has neither replied to my letter nor the State has received any communication from the Centre on relaxation of FAQ norms," Odisha Food Minister SN Patro said.