Odisha farmers yet to get payment for paddy sale

Bhubaneswar: At a time when the ruling and opposition political parties in state are at loggerheads with each other over poor Minimum Support Price (MSP) hike, a government notification revealed that payment worth crores is yet to be disbursed to hundreds of farmers.

A letter from Bijay Kumar Prusty, Joint Secretary of State Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare Department to all Civil Supply Officers (CSO)s quoted that many districts have not yet completed the reprocessing of rejected or error accounts for transfer of paddy cost to the accounts of farmers in respect of last Kharif.

As many as 431 farmers of seven districts including Bhadrak, Keonjhar, Puri, Bolangir, Ganjam, Nayagarh and Cuttack are yet to get their dues worth about Rs 3.72 crores even after months of selling their produce.

“We are yet to get our payment from banks even after selling paddy at mandis months before. So when it is time for farming we have nowhere to go but seek financial assistance from money lenders,” Srinibas Nayak, a farmer lamented.

The last date for procuring Kharif paddy was April 30 but with the government not able to identify the beneficiaries, the dues are yet to be disbursed. Amid such a scenario, the department has sent four officials to visit four districts namely Bhadrak, Keonjahr, Puri and Ganjam where maximum such cases have been noted and directed them to sort out the issues by June 30.

“We are proactively pursuing the issue and have directed the CSOs to coordinate with the officials and district administration to identify the farmers and make their accounts KYC compliant so that the money can be transferred as soon as possible,” BK Prusty said.

Meanwhile, the issue has spiraled into a spat between the opposition BJP and ruling BJD.

The BJP has called for a high level enquiry into the issue saying that it is conspiracy by the government to misappropriate crores of rupees. In reality the ones who were mentioned in the report are all ghost farmers since a farmer never sits idle but always runs to claim his dues after selling produce, Pradeep Purohit, BJP MLA said.

The BJD however lambasted the BJP saying that the allegations made are to hide their own mistakes. Since the Prime Minister is unable to implement his decision to double the paddy MSP which he proudly declared during his Bargarh visit, the saffron party is trying to divert attention from its own failures.

“The government is closely monitoring the issue and ensuring that all steps are taken to disburse the dues of farmers” Samir Das, BJD Spokesperson said.

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