Farmer-miller dispute mars paddy procurement in Odisha

Malkangiri/Bargarh/Sambalpur: Farmers in various districts of Odisha are a worried lot with rice millers in various districts demanding cuts/concessions for procuring paddy. Farmers across Malkangiri, Sambalpur and Bargarh districts are now in a tiff with the rice millers over such demands.

According to sources, the farmers of Sambalpur have alleged that rice millers of Baraipali mandi are seeking concession of around 7-8 kilograms of rice per quintal citing moisture in the paddy. They even complained that rice millers are not paying requisite reimbursement for transporting the paddy from the mandis to the rice mills.

Similarly, the farmers in Bargarh have complained of being harassed during procurement process. The farmers in Gudesira market yard in the district have alleged that rice millers are demanding similar concessions on the actual weight of the paddy.

“The millers are reducing 7-8 kilograms of rice per quintal citing moisture as reason. They are using a grader machine to cut the amount of rice,” said Sambalpur farmer, Bhairabh Pradhan.

“The rice is being unloaded here but there are no millers or officials of the administration to help us in procurement,” said Bargarh farmer Mahendra Das.

“The millers said that they will give receipts for 28 quintals while receiving 30 quintals of paddy. We feel it as exploitation and have denied supplying paddy,” Trinath Bishoi, a Malkangiri farmer said.

Assistant Supplies Officer of Sambalpur, Dillip Kuamar Nayak said “There were about 80-90 vehicles loaded with paddy for procurement, but there was some dispute between the millers and farmers. We have arranged for a negotiation between them.”

Srikar Majhi, District Supplies Officer, Bargarh said “We are expecting that the paddy lying in the mandi will be lifted by the millers within the next 3-4 days.”

Kalucharan Pradhan, MD of Korukonda LAMPS (large area multi-purpose cooperative societies) said “We have assured the farmers that their paddy will be sold without any reductions. I have assured them that they will be granted fair price at the government mandis.”