Odisha Assembly: Opposition corners Odisha govt over paddy distress sale

Bhubaneswar: Alleging distress sale of paddy and failure of Odisha government in procurement,Opposition parties including BJP and Congress today turned the heat on ruling-BJD in the State Assembly.

While raising the issue during adjournment motion, BJP MLAs Bishnu Sethi and Jayanarayan Mishra claimed that paddy from Bhadrak and Balasore districts is being sent to West Bengal and Bangladesh as the State government has failed to procure the crop.

While the State government is also yet to pay Rs one crore to the farmers in Bhadrak district towards payment for paddy procurement, the officials of Civil Supplies Department were involved in corruption and irregularities, alleged BJP members in the House.

“As farmers are in distress, we brought an adjournment motion to draw the attention of the House. Those who have sold paddy at the market yards are yet to get the money. We are not satisfied with the Minister’s reply to the motion,” said BJP MLABishnu Sethi.

Congress members Suresh Routray, Santosh Singh Saluja and Tara Prasad Bahinipati also raised the issue of irregularities in several mandis, rejection of crops citing poor quality and involvement of middlemen in paddy procurement in different parts of the State. Despite a drought like situation in Bolangir district, how come paddy procurement quantity is increasing, questioned the Congress MLAs.

“In Koraput, the government is saying that permission was given for procurement of one lakh tonnes paddy procurement and the district civil supplies official and Collector are saying target has been achieved. But still paddy stocks of farmers at market yards are yet to be lifted,” said Congress MLA, Tara Prasda Bahinipati.

In his reaction, Food supply and Cooperation Minister Ranendra Pratap Swain said, “The Cabinet had targeted to procure 55 lakhs metric tonnes of paddy in rabi season. So far, 65 lakh metric tonnes have been procured. So there is no distress sale. If we get any such complaints from anywhere, we will sort out the issue in two days.”

Though the paddy procurement began from May 27, paddy sacks are lying unattended at different market yards in many places of the State including Subarnapur and Dharamgarh. Farmers alleged that they do not have enough money to purchase seeds for farming during the kharif season.

“Paddy stocks at the market yards have been damaged as the procurement is yet to be done. Now I don’t have money to support education of my children and buy seeds for kharif season,” said Duryodhan Pradhan, a farmer.

The officials of Primary Agricultural Cooperative Societies (PACS) claimed that the extension of rabi crop procurement deadline will help farmers in a much big way.If the procurement date is extended after June 30, farmers will be benefitted, said Bhagaban Pradhan, PACS secretary in Sonepur.

During the debate during Zero Hour, BJD MLA and former minister Debi Prasad raised the Polavaram issue and accused the Centre of doing injustice to Odisha and its people

Mishra stated that when the matter is sub-judice, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar extended the period for Polavaram Multipurpose Project of Andhra Pradesh without consulting Odisha government.