BJP to guard ‘mandis’ during paddy procurement in Odisha: Pradhan

Bhubaneswar: In a bid to check irregularities during paddy procurement, BJP workers will guard ‘mandis’ across Odisha, said Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan today.

“Since past several years, the paddy procurement in Odisha is saddled with irregularities. There is resentment over the fact that farmers are being harassed either by millers or middlemen over quality of their produce,” said Pradhan adding that there will be protests if money is routed through rice millers.

Pradhan’s statements came after Odisha Cabinet approved the Food and Procurement Policy and set a target to procure 55 lakh metric tonne of paddy, which is equivalent to 37 lakh metric tonne of rice, from farmers during the Kharif marketing season.

Similarly, 23 metric tonne of rice will be used under public distribution system (PDS) while surplus rice will be stored in the central pool through the Food Corporation of India (FCI).

Official sources said that the proposals were cleared in the cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today.

Besides, the State government has decided to disburse money to farmers against their produce within three days. The money will be directly transferred to the bank accounts of the farmers within 24 to 72 hours of procurement.

Responding to a media query over the decision, Pradhan stated that already several States have implemented such measures. He further informed that the Government of India has hiked the minimum support price of paddy by Rs 200 per quintal. Hence, to ensure that the money reaches directly to the farmers, BJP will guard the mandis to check several irregularities including the nexus between middlemen and corrupt officers.

Odisha government’s assurance to make payments to farmers in 72 hours is a blatant lie, the Union minister said.

Earlier, Odisha Chief Secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi informed that all the paddy procurement will be done through Primary Agricultural Cooperative Societies (PACS) and Large Area Multi-Purpose Societies (LAMPS).

As there will be no longer deduction of three quintals of paddy per head per family, it will beneficial to small farmers, official sources said.

“Within 3 days of procurement from farmers, money will be transferred to their accounts,” Padhi informed.

Apart from this, Odisha cabinet also approved the guidelines of the new ‘Ama Gaon Ama Bikas’ scheme that will be effective from this year. Already a budgetary allocation of Rs 1,250 crore has been made for the implementation of the ‘Ama Gaon Ama Bikas’ scheme.

All the works under the scheme will be carried out by the government and no contractors will be engaged for execution of works under the scheme.

The cabinet also approved the Agriculture and Food Production Service (Methods of Recruitment and Conditions of Service) Rules-2018 for creation of new posts in Agriculture Officers Service cadre.