OTV Impact: Odisha extends paddy procurement deadline

Bhubaneswar: After facing criticism over massive lapses and problems faced by farmers to sell their paddy in several mandis, Odisha government today extended the deadline of kharif season paddy procurement. In a letter to all district collectors, the Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare Department has categorically stated that the paddy procurement operations will continue till State government purchases the entire paddy from the farmers.

Earlier on February 16, OTV had published a report which showed how the state government is planning to stop paddy procurement while huge quantities of paddy are lying in the open at various mandis.

However, as per the latest directive, all PACS have been asked to issue tokens to farmers while action will be taken in case any irregularities are detected and the entire stock of paddy would be confiscated if it comes to the market yard without tokens.Sources said the move is aimed at putting a check on distress sale of paddy by farmers.

“The paddy must be brought to the mandis first and then only millers will be allowed to lift it. The millers will be debarred from the procurement operations if they are found purchasing paddy directly,” said a senior official.

In the letter, the Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare Department secretary,VV Yadav stated that “As enshrined in the policy, the State government is committed to procure the surplus paddy from the farmers, who are willing to sell the paddy to the government as per norms.”

Moreover, the authorised officers have been asked to visit mandis and mills regularly and share their observations on WhatsApp.

The Civil Supplies officers have been asked to visit the PACS in case they fail to upload data regarding paddy procurement as it will lead to delay in payments to farmers.