State okays rice procurement through agencies

Bhubaneswar: State government on Tuesday approved procurement of 30 lakh tonnes of rice during 2012-13 through different agencies other than Food Corporation of India (FCI) and announced Rs 1250 as the minimum support price (MSP) per quintal of paddy.

This was decided at the cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik here. While the target for rice procurement had been fixed at 28 lakh tonnes in 2011-12, it was increased by about two lakh metric tonnes this fiscal, Chief Secretary B K Patnaik told reporters.

“Rice will be procured through the state-run Odisha State Civil Supplies Corporation (OSCSC), TDCC, Markfed, Nafed and by engaging members of self help groups (SSGs) and Pani Panchayats,” Patnaik said adding OSCSC had been given the major target of procuring 28.86 lakh tonnes.

As the FCI failed to meet the target last year and its performance over the years was far from satisfactory, the state government this time decided not to give procurement work to the central agency, Patnaik said.

While FCI was given a target of procuring 50,000 tonnes of rice last year, it could procure only 5,373 tonnes, he said. Patnaik said the government’s procurement amount of 30 lakh tonnes of rice was much above the state’s requirement of 22 lakh tonnes of rice per annum.

The cabinet also decided to raise the MSP for paddy from Rs 1080 fixed last year to Rs 1250 per qunital for common variety of paddy while the price of grade-I paddy would be Rs 1280, Patnaik said. The cabinet also approved imposition of levy of Rs 1 per tonne of minerals being transported by using e-permission system by amending the Orissa Mineral Rules-2007.

“Major minerals like iron ore and chromite are now being trnsported by using e-permission. The state will levy Rs 1 per tonne of mineral being transported by using e-permission,” he said.

The chief secretary said the cabinet also decided to exempt items used in research and development activities, relief materials and equipment for use in public hospitals from entry tax.