Controversy erupts over ‘fake’ farmers selling paddy at mandis

Sambalpur: Amid allegations of lapses in paddy procurement in the state, some local farmers of Sambalpur have alleged that the paddy brought to the mandis for sale do not belong to the real farmers but are of middlemen, traders and  ‘fake’ farmers.

As per reports, several trucks and tractors carrying sacks of paddy were seized by the local farmers in front of Jhankarpali mandi in the district following which a scuffle ensued between the local farmers and the farmers who came from outside the district to sell paddy.

Questions are now being raised on where do the famers got the huge quantity of paddy as the crop cutting report suggests that more than 56% region of the panchayat was affected by drought.

It is being alleged that farmers from nearby Jharsuguda and other areas are buying paddy at low cost and selling them at the mandis here at higher prices to get more profit.

“Through a letter, they declared that the mandi was closed on January 12 but the mandi was again opened to buy the paddy from the farmers,” said Gurucharan Das, president of Jagannath Krushak Sangathan.

Meanwhile, local farmers have written a letter to the President of Katarabaga ‘Seva Samabaya Samiti’ drawing his attention to the matter.

On the other hand, the farmers who have come to sell the paddy have claimed that they are genuine farmers who worked hard and due to various reasons like rain and personal issues, there has been a little delay in bringing the paddy to the mandis.

They also informed that they have met the district collector who had earlier given the permission for procurement of paddy at the mandis. “As we do not possess any written permission, the locals have detained the paddy trucks,” alleged a farmer.

However, Sambalpur collector, Samarth Verma informed that after the sub-collector submits a report after a detailed probe, necessary actions of procurement will be done.

On the other hand, Odisha Cooperation Minister Surjya Narayan Patro said “After showing the land documents, the farmers will be registered as members, and only then the paddy will be collected from them.”