Govt hints at jump in paddy procurement | Bhubaneswar News

Bhubaneswar: State food supplies and consumer welfare minister Ranendra Pratap Swain on Wednesday indicated the paddy procurement for the ongoing kharif season could exceed expectations with 43.38 lakh metric tonne (MT) having been procured till February 13 against the target of 51 lakh MT for the entire season that started in November last year and is set to be over in April.
The minister was responding during question hour as legislators cutting across party lines, including the ruling BJD, raised concern over discrepancies in the paddy procurement system. With the state government introducing a centralized token system for paddy procurement this year, the minister said as many as 8.13 lakh farmers have sold paddy through this process. In contrast, 7.77 lakh farmers had sold paddy in the same period last year.
“The token system has been introduced this year to ensure transparency in the procurement system and to check bogus beneficiaries from participating in the procurement system. The state government is committed to procure paddy from all genuine farmers,” Swain said. In a separate reply, the minister said as many as Rs 7,458 crore has been transferred to the accounts of farmers who have sold their paddy in the 3,500 mandis across the state while the remaining Rs 416 crore will be transferred to their accounts soon.
Senior BJD leader Bhupinder Singh said many farmers are yet to get tokens as a result of which they could not sell their paddy. He said some of the farmers who have received tokens could not even sell their paddy because of mismanagement at the ground level.
Raising the issue in the assembly, senior BJP leader Jaya Narayan Mishra alleged that farmers are not able to sell their paddy in the mandis. He urged the minister to hold meetings by involving local MLAs to streamline the procurement process. During the discussion, Congress leader Santosh Singh Saluja came down heavily on the state government over its failure to control unscrupulous millers who have been exploiting the farmers. Sensing the mood of the house, speaker Surya Narayan Patro directed Swain to hold meetings with district-level officers to take stock of the procurement status and to place a report in the assembly.

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