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Pradeep Singh

Bubaneswar/Bolangir: It was the token system then that had brought farmers to streets, now the alleged highhandedness of millers in paddy procurement is stoking resentment among the paddy growers in Odisha.

Though as many as 158 mandis have been opened in Bolangir district, farmers allege that the millers are dictating the paddy procurement terms. The farmers further alleged that the millers are refusing to procure paddy without 'katni chhatni (sifting wastage allowance)'.

One farmer has reportedly posted a video on social media which purportedly shows a miller asking the farmers to take a cut of 16 kgs per quintal of paddy as katni chhatni. As per reports, farmers are facing the katni chhatni problem in all the 158 mandis of the district. Even the farmers have approached the district collector with their grievance.

Farmer Gangadhar Patel said, "I was first told that the katni would be 5-6 kg per quintal but I refused; because of my protest, my paddy is yet to be procured. When I told the miller that I will complain the collector about it, he said that he doesn't care."

Taking cognizance of the massive corruption in paddy procurement in Bolangir, the Orissa High Court on April 25, 2002 had said that 'there should be no involvement of millers in the paddy procurement', and the State government & the FCI will procure the paddy.

"An inquiry is needed into the allegations as there seems to be a massive corruption in the procurement process. In the next departmental standing committee, this issue will be discussed and the State government will be urged to take stern action," said Bolangir MLA Narasingha Mishra.

In case any complaint is received regarding the involvement of millers in katni chhatni, we will take appropriate action," said Abhiram Pradhan, District Supply Officer, Bolangir.

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