Monday, January 16, 2017


Monday, 16 January 2017 | SUDHIR MISHRA | BALANGIR | in Bhubaneswar
While good kharif paddy harvest this year brought cheers among farmers, yet they are now reeling under a problem of how to sell the paddy legally and check distress sale.
Thanks to official apathy, procedural difficulties, lapses and unholy nexus between officials and millers, exploitation of farmers by the mill owners is rampant.
This year, it was decided to start paddy procurement at 158 mandis from November 25, but actually it started in first week of December last, leading to distress sale from the beginning.
There was good production and the cap of 12quintals per acre of land for farmers was inadequate. It should be raised to 18quintals, demanded several farmers’ organizations here. But this fell in the deaf ear of the authorities.
As per the rules, a farmer gives all his documents to the PACS to get him registered in order to sell the paddy and thereafter the name of the farmer is enlisted and P-PASS is issued. Thereafter token is given to the farmer.
Although several farmers submitted their documents to register themselves with PACS, yet their names did not figure in the list resulting in unexpected problems for the farmers and forcing them to go for distress sale.
On January 7, several farmers under the area of Manhira PACS came to district Civil Supplies office and lodged their protest for being unable to sell their paddy. They said that as token was not issued to them they failed to dispose of their produce.
An activist said that the mess at the procurement points to apathetic attitude of the officials and an unholy nexus between them and the millers. If the farmers are harassed and their selling is delayed, they would fall back on distress sale, he added.
By the month of October, the Government introduced the linkages of ADHAR card system in the registration process. This prevented farmers to register them effectively and sell their produce. Although the Government extended the dateline twice till December last year, many farmers could not know it properly for lack of awareness, which prevented them from registering themselves.
There were also allegations that the weighing machines at the PACS were not functioning properly. The grading was also not done. With no options left, the farmers are sent to a mill to weigh it and determine the quality whether it has FAQ or not. There the millers deduct 5-10kg per quintal by manipulation.
Recently a farmer had brought his paddy to Chhatapipal mandi. He could not unload his paddy there and he slept in open field. Later, he was sent to a mill where the mill deducted 15kg per quintal for not conforming to the standards. However, following complaints with the district administration, the permission of the mill to purchase the paddy in the season was cancelled by the district Collector.
The Primary Agricultural Cooperative Societies (PACSs) have not developed their infrastructure. In a PACS, there should be proper grading, weighing machine and people to help loading and unloading. Why are these things absent? These conditions continue to prevail, deliberately to continue the unholy nexus between officials, millers and other people to exploit the farmers, alleged several activists here.
The Regulated Market Committee (RMC) is getting a specific per cent of commission to provide the technical manpower at PACS. And the PACS authorities also get a specific per cent to provide proper infrastructure at the mandi, which is sadly missing, alleged president of Zilla Krushak Mahasangha Sudhir Parischha.
This demonization introduced by the Modi Government has hit many small and medium farmers. Special provisions should be made to safeguard the farmers from the repercussion of demonetization. The Central Government should look into the plight of farmers and take appropriate steps to compensate the farmers, pointed out Zilla Krushak Samanya Sanghthan president ArunMishra.
The Government should demand hike in paddy MSP to Rs 3,000 and should claim special financial assistance from the Center for the loss caused by demonetization to the farmer community and to the people at large, Mishra added.
Meanwhile, till January 9 last, a total of 69, 6, 413 quintals of paddy  have been procured in the district. And MARKFED has started purchasing paddy in the district from January 2, said sources.

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