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Pradeep Singh

Bhubaneswar: Expressing concerns amid the ongoing row over the token system for paddy procurement in western Odisha, especially in Sambalpur and Bargarh districts, ruling-BJD's Bargarh MLA Debesh Acharya today questioned the rationale behind putting farmers in trouble in the name of transparency.

"How far is it justified to put farmers in trouble on the pretext of bringing transparency? Registration of around 1.13 lakh farmers was done in Bargarh for this year of which accounts of only 93,000 farmers have been checked so far. By yesterday (November 26), only 45,000 farmers were issued tokens for the procurement of paddy in the first phase," said Acharya in the Assembly on Wednesday.

He further said, "A total of 45.5 lakh quintal paddy is to be procured from the district (Bargarh). However, till now, only 1.8 lakh quintal paddy has been procured. If the farmers are not able to sell their paddy by December 31, especially in the Hirakud Command Area, they will have to face serious problems in starting cultivation for the next season."

Moreover, BJD's Rairakhol MLA Rohit Pujari said that the farmers are in dilemma over the token system. "Once their paddy is being procured, they are getting confused over the issuance of the next tokens to sell their left over paddy. Though farmers are being told that the tokens will be reissued in next 15 days, the time period is too long."

Pujari urged the minister concerned to take immediate steps to reissue tokens as soon as possible.

In his response (in the Assembly), Food and Supplies Minister, Ranendra Swain said, "We need your cooperation in this issue. As we had said earlier, we will procure paddy from the absentees (elderly people who are unable to come to mandis) in an unauthenticated mode. However, Aadhaar-seeding is a must to keep middlemen away from the entire process."

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