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Mrunal Manmay Dash

Bhubaneswar: Centre should have discussed with all the stakeholders before passing the Farm Bills, or else such unrest among the farming community across the country would not have erupted. But in any case, the successful model of paddy procurement system that has been in operation in the state from many years now should not get upset, opined Odisha Supplies Minister Ranendra Pratap Swain on Friday.

Addressing a press conference, Swain said, "We are reaching the poorest of the poor farmers through sanitized data and procuring their produce at the Minimum Support Price (MSP)."

On the recent agitation by farmers in many parts of Odisha, Swain said, "Farmers wanted more value for their paddy that was produced from non-irrigated lands. We cannot change it in midway. The value has been calculated taking the average of all the lands and districts. However, we will look into the matter."

Odisha government had procured around 55 Lakh MT in 2018. It reached 65 Lakh MT in 2019. This time it has a target of procuring 71 Lakh MT of paddy from farmers. In fact, 7, 45,650 MT of paddy has already been procured by the government till now against which Rs 1197.20 Crores have already been disbursed to the farmers till today. As per Swain's projection the total procurement could very well cross the target of 71 Lakh MT by the end of season.

As far as the allegations of token mismanagement are concerned, Swain downplayed the issue and said, "There are only a few farmers who could not have got token on time, because, the government was reconcilliating their claims."

"We have received complaints about some fake farmers who wanted to sell paddy showing government's land as their own farmland," said Swain.

Earlier, State President of BJP Kishan Morcha, Pradip Purohit had alleged that the farmers across Odisha are not able to sell their produce and mostly paddy lying in mandis along with the token system introduced by the State government has compounded their miseries.

He further alleged that, "The farmers are not really getting the benefits even after Centre fixed the MSP at Rs 1868 per quintal of paddy. The millers are forcing them to sell their produce after deducting 2 to 10 kgs per quintal, the money of which is provided to the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) by millers."

Swain replied to these allegations saying, "A thief always paints others as thief. CM Naveen Patnaik never encourages such activities. We rather tightened the screws if anything like this was happening earlier."

(Edited By Suryakant Jena)

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