Saswat Singhdeo

Kalahandi: There seems to be no end to the suffering of paddy farmers of Dharmagarh sub-division in Kalahandi. While some farmers are living on prayers, others have resorted to protest alleging apathy of district administration and the State government in procurement of paddy.

“It feels like we have lost the battle after repeated requests. Now, we are praying to God to save us from this difficult situation,” said Sarang Gahir, a farmer from Kalahandi.

However, Dharmagarh sub-collector, Padmanabha Behera said that paddy procurement this year was better than previous years. “This year paddy procurement was far better than past years. We will procure whatever is left,” Behera said.
According to reports, 13,000 quintal of paddy harvested during Rabi season is lying in 17 mandis of Dharmagarh.

Farmers in many other areas of western Odisha, too, are facing similar problems. While many farmers have claimed that despite receiving tokens, millers have not bought their paddy which are lying in open and have started to germinate after getting soaked in rain.

The State government has stopped paddy procurement from June 30 claiming to have achieved the target this year. While a target of 55 lakh metric ton paddy was set for this year, the government has claimed that it has already crossed the target and procured 65 lakh metric ton paddy.

“As per the data provided by the Cooperation Department, extra 10 lakh metric ton paddy has been procured this year,” Odisha Agriculture Minister Arun Sahoo said.