Farmers alleges irregularities in LAMPS

Koraput: A farmers` body has alleged irregularities and exploitation of cultivators in the paddy procurement process in Odisha`s Koraput district. Zilla Krushak Kalyan Mancha (ZKKM) has alleged that farmers are being exploited by Large Areas Multi-purpose Societies (LAMPS) at mandis (paddy procurement centres).

While it is the responsibility of LAMPS to bear the handling cost of paddy bags, which invloves putting and removing the bags on the weighing machine and loading them on trucks for transportation to rice mills, at the mandis farmers are asked to bear the same, ZKKM secretary Narendra Kumar Pradhan claimed.

"As per the procurement policy, LAMPS are to bear the charges of handling paddy bags at the mandis. LAMPS are getting around Rs.6 towards handling charges for one quintal of paddy. But it is not paying anything to labourers towards handling cost. As a result farmers in the district are forced to make such payments to the labourers", Pradhan said.

LAMPS are one of the paddy procurement agencies selected by the administration to procure paddy during the ongoing Kharif Marketing Season (KMS). Out of 10 lakh quintals of paddy, which the district aims to procure, LAMPS are to procure at least 6 quintals during the current season. At least nine LAMPS in the district are engaged in the procurement process.

Each farmer spends around Rs 10 per quintal of paddy towards handling cost. We have approached the officials concerned many times to ask LAMPS to pay the handling charges but no avail", Pradhan said. As the farmers are in a hurry to sell their produce, LAMPS officilas are cashing in on the situation, forcing them to pay handling charges, ZKKM said.