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Ramakanta Biswas

Bhubaneswar: Paddy packets are piling up in heaps in front of mandis across Odisha, as the token system continues to pose a hurdle triggering widespread resentment among farmers.

Failing to sell their paddy, the irate farmers in Malkangiri district staged a road blockade at Korakonda road by keeping paddy packets on the road. The farmers alleged that they have not received tokens even after three weeks of the opening of the mandi. They further alleged that the millers are taking six to eight kg extra per quintal as ‘katni chhatni’ (sifting wastage). As per allegations, despite informing the administrative officials, no steps have been taken.

Similar situation is also being witnessed in Subarnapur district where farmers are spending the winter nights outside the mandis. They alleged that the millers are not procuring paddy following opposition to ‘katni chhatni’.
Paddy procurement for the kharif season started in the district on November 15. In the first phase, paddy procurement began in Binika and Dunguripali blocks and later in Kalapathar Primary Agriculture Cooperative Societies (PACS) of Uluda block on December 11.

The situation is no different in Sinapali block of Nuapada where farmers have stocked the paddy, but are not able to sell them due to lack tokens. Of the total 781 registered farmers, 241 farmers have reportedly received tokens.
“We are frequently approaching the authorities for tokens. Our paddy harvest is lying in the open and getting destroyed by rodents. We are running out of money,” said a farmer, Daitari Bisi.

Another farmer, Kishan Lal Sahu said, “I have not received a token. The paddy is lying in the open vulnerable to bad weather conditions & pilferage.”

Balmat Saha, chief executive officer of Nilji PACS said, “Every day the farmers are making calls and inquiring about their tokens. The token system is good, but the farmers have to be patient.”

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