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Devbrat Patnaik

Bhubaneswar: Odisha government introduced the centralised token system to ease the process of paddy procurement but it seems it is in no way benefiting the farmers. While allegations continue to pour in from various market yards (mandi) regarding delay in procurement, Congress members expressed concerns over problems being faced by farmers in the State.

During the Question Hour on Wednesday, Congress MLA Santosh Singh Saluja said that introduction of the centralised token system has led to delay in sale of paddy. He further mentioned that resentment is brewing among farmers over the practice of millers seeking volume concessions citing fair average quality (katni chhatni).

"The government has fixed Rs 1,815 as MSP for a quintal of FAQ paddy. And I'm sure not a single legislator has any problem with that. But my concern is why is there a katni chhatni? " questioned Singh.

In response, Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare Minister Ranendra Pratap Swain said so far tokens have been issued for purchasing around 49.91 lakh tonne of paddy. "As the deadline of token system lapsed, the farmers who failed to sell their paddy would be given a second chance. Using new tokens, they will be able to sell their produce complying with FAQ norms, for another seven days," the minister clarified.

"While procurement took place at around 3500 mandis this time, the government is planning to set up more market yards with modern facilities. A team will be sent to other States to note the major developments in the farming system and review how they have adopted modern technologies while procurement. We'll also have a discussion with the MLAs before setting up new mandis," he added.

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