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Farmers take to the streets over paddy procurement in Odisha

first_imgFarmers across western Odisha on Tuesday took to the streets protesting against sluggishness in paddy procurement in the current kharif season.The State government also faced the heat as the Opposition parties had picked holes in the procurement process during a discussion in the Assembly.Hundreds of farmers protested by offloading their paddy stocks in front of the houses of four MLAs in Sambalpur and they also laid siege to the office of the Collector at Bargarh. They threatened not to participate in the procurement if the present system was not withdrawn.Farmers are against the ‘token’ system. “Though we had started harvesting of paddy weeks ago, we were unable to sell our paddy. The State government has introduced centralised token system. But tokens were not issued in advance triggering delay in procurement,” said Prasant Pradhan, a farmer.The farmers demanded that the government must revert to the earlier system and expedite procurement as soon as possible.“The State-level committee had decided to start paddy procurement from November 15 and the same decision was taken at the district level. We fail to understand why token was not issued beforehand,” said Narasingha Mishra, Congress Legislature Party leader.Jaynarayan Mishra, BJP MLA of Sambalpur, also took a dig at the government for defending the token system saying farmers were facing a lot of difficulties in selling their paddy.Food Supply and Consumer Welfare Minister Ranendra Pratap Swain said earlier Primary Agricultural Cooperative Societies (PACS) were generating tokens, which was not a transparent system and some farmers were preferred to others.“The new token system allows small and marginal farmers to bring paddy for sale since tokens are issued in a transparent way. Hence, the system will not be dominated by big farmers,” said Mr. Swain.He defended the system saying traders cannot enter the system as the experience shows that some PACS first try to favour traders while genuine farmers wait for days to sell their paddy.The procurement started in seven western Odisha districts and 26,543 tokens were issued to 21,372 farmers.last_img

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