ROURKELA: Resentment is brewing among farmers of tribal-dominated Sundargarh district as they are unable to sell paddy on time due to procedural delay in procurement and manipulative practices of unscrupulous traders.
Administrative sources informed that this year, around 11.30 lakh quintal paddy has been purchased from 17,855 registered farmers in the district so far. As many as 29,997 remaining registered farmers are yet to sell their produce. In absence of fixed procurement target, farmers are made to wait despite receiving tokens.
The large and multi-purpose cooperative societies (LAMPCS) are not able to purchase paddy without any timely procurement target from the Civil Supplies department. As procurement would be over by March, farmers fear that if they fail to sell their produce by the last date, they would have to suffer losses. In 2020, around 18.49 lakh quintal of paddy was procured in the district. However, 6,482 registered farmers had failed to sell around 4.23 lakh quintal paddy.
On Wednesday, a section of farmers staged road blockade in Balishankara block to protest procurement delay. They demanded immediate issue of tokens to farmers having more than 10 acre of land. The day before, farmers had resented delay in procurement at Bisra LAMPC and Purkaplali paddy procurement centre in Kutra block.
Farmers with above 10 acre of land have not been issued tokens as government has asked the district administration to verify authenticity of such persons. A report in this regard was submitted recently.
Sources said the district administration recently ordered a probe after it was found that some unscrupulous traders fraudulently registered themselves using land data of genuine farmers without their knowledge.
The modus operandi of these fake farmers was to procure paddy at Rs 1,100-Rs 1,200 per quintal from small and marginal farmers and sell it at procurement centres at Rs 1,868 per quintal. Civil Supplies Officer BC Mangraj said the district was allowed to purchase 15.88 lakh quintal paddy in two phases. The administration has sent a fresh request to the Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare department to allow additional purchase of 9.11 lakh quintal paddy from farmers.