With no mandis, farmers go for distress sale in Odisha
Bhubaneswar: After battling with natural calamities and pest attack, paddy and cotton farmers of Bolangir, Kalahandi and Sambalpur districts are now opting for distress sale due to undue delay in setting up of mandis by the State government.
Farmers of Deogan in Bolangir district are forced to stock paddy in their houses and nobody knows when the mandis are going to open even though the concerned officials conducted meetings after meetings to ensure smooth procurement.
“We can only sell our produce if mandi opens. Though the concerned officials assured that the centre will open by December 14, they are not ready to answer anything,” said Karuna Rohidas, a farmer from Burda in Bolangir.
Similarly, the situation has assumed serious proportions in Kalahandi district due to non-cooperation of rice millers. Although the first mandi in Junagarh was opened on November 28 and tokens were issued to farmers, some issues over fair average quality (FAQ) have now emerged as a bone of contention.
On the other hand, cotton farmers at Anandpur village in Sonepur district are forced to stock their produce with no mandi being procurement in the district. Farmers cultivated cotton in more than 3000 hectare of land in Tarabha, Gulunda and Birmaharajpur blocks of the district this year.
Although the government has fixed the price of Rs 5,400 per quintal but due to delay in opening of mandis, the farmers have started selling their produce at much cheaper rates.
“As the government agencies are not buying our products, we are forced to sell to the local traders,” said a cotton farmer, Jatin Panigrahi.
Meanwhile, the opposition parties targeted the ruling BJD and accused State Government of ignoring the interest of the farmers.
“The millers are not buying the paddy. I doubt the government and the concerned minister are with the farmers or the millers,” alleged Opposition chief whip and Congress leader, Taraprasad Bahinipati.
“Last year, the mandis were opened lately and the same situation has cropped up this year also. The Odisha Government has no proper concept regarding paddy procurement,” said BJP State vice-president Bhrigu Baxipatra.
“The Collectors are negotiating with the millers and the procurement will soon start. Till date, more than 3.8 lakh tonnes of paddy have been procured and the paddy procurement process has already started in eight districts of the State,” informed Food Supplies and Cooperation Minister Surya Narayan Patro.