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Bhubaneswar: With the paddy procurement in Odisha being bedeviled by centralised token system, the disconcerting impact is paddy prices at many places in Sundargarh have fallen below MSP (Minimum Support Price).

For instance, as per the reports from market yards, the paddy prices at Bonai has dropped to Rs 1750 per quintal vis-a-vis the MSP of Rs 1,815/quintal. Significantly, when the paddy MSP in Odisha is considered as below the actual production cost, then the double whammy to farmers there is clearly discernible . Sources in Odisha Civil Supplies department blame it on delay in paddy procurement.

Consider this. Though a total of 1,762 farmers in Bonai have been mapped under the P-PAS (Paddy Procurement Automation System), not a kilo of paddy has been procured till date. But reports suggest trading of a whopping 2.5 tonnes of paddy in Bonai open market on Monday (December 2) and the price quoted was Rs 1,750/q, which is a massive Rs 65/q less than the MSP of Rs 1,815/q.

As per the official data available, since the start of paddy procurement for the current Kharif season, a total of 2.17 lakh metric tonnes paddy have been procured till date. And the significant pointer here is the procurement quantity of paddy in Sundargarh district stood at mere 0.028 per cent of the total procured or around 61 tonnes.

Trading of paddy below MSP is seemingly a failure of the market intelligence system of Odisha's Food and Civil Supplies department.

Because, under the MSP policy, state governments need to ensure that none of the commodities, for which MSP have been announced, be traded at a price below MSP.  However, If the prices of the commodity in the market rules above MSP, then government can go slow in procuring the commodity.

But in Sundargarh district, paddy prices have dropped below MSP at many places. And the procurement process has been proceeding at a snail's pace there.

What needs mentioning here is Sundargarh figures among the most farmer suicide prone district in western Odisha, after Bargarh and Sambalpur.

When the State government is going high on 5T, the stark failure that stared at its face is the abject failure of the State machinery in marketing its token system introduced to bring transparency in paddy procurement. The centralised token system's plus point is it weeds out ghost farmers, but the way it is implemented in the State, real farmers ended up as victims. The Bonai instance here seems a good evidence.

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